Skip to main content

Full text of "A Royal Road: Being the History of the London & South Western Railway, from 1825 to the Present ..."

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book lhal w;ls preserved for general ions on library shelves before il was carefully scanned by Google as pari of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

Il has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one thai was never subject 

to copy right or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often dillicull lo discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher lo a library and linally lo you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud lo partner with libraries lo digili/e public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order lo keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial panics, including placing Icchnical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make n on -commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request thai you use these files for 
personal, non -commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort lo Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each lile is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use. remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 

countries. Whether a book is slill in copyright varies from country lo country, and we can'l offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through I lie lull lexl of 1 1 us book on I lie web 
al |_-.:. :.-.-:: / / books . qooqle . com/| 


Jwmm { 

» 8'7 











Jtaithim J& jSmtMj l^^rit IJaHttra^ 

From 1825 to the present time. 



L _ _ 






Transport*** .1 

Libra* *' 

303LO I 



l ! 




1 Encouraged by the favour accorded the following pages 

^ by my fellows in the South Western Company's service, and 

whom I cannot sufficiently thank for their support, I venture 

to launch A Royal Road upon the more trying waters that 

lie outside the pale of railway life. 

In introducing this history to the reader, I may say that 
I have striven, and I trust successfully, to compile not only 
a record of the struggles, triumphs and defeats to which one 
of the oldest and most important railway companies in England 
has been subject, but also a biographical sketch of past 
responsible officials, together with a description of the various 
appliances at their disposal for the manipulation of traffic. 

If this, my first attempt at authorship, should serve only 
to rescue from oblivion the names and acts of those who helped 
to build up a great railway system, my object will have been 
attained ; and if it should in any measure create greater 
public interest in our iron roads and those who conduct them, 
I shall be amply rewarded for those hours of leisure devoted 
to its compilation. 


Traffic Department, 

Kingston-on-Thames Station, 
September, 1888. 



A Want — A Water Remedy — Novel Looomotion — Ideas peculiar and 
Estimates extraordinary — A Scheme Afloat. 

Early in the present century, when England was recover- 
ing from the Continental wars of which the battle of Waterloo 
was the termination, British shipowners, smarting under the 
losses inflicted by the enemy on their vessels, together with the 
frequent and tiresome delays caused by easterly winds, which 
sometimes sealed up the passage of the Downs for weeks, 
heartily longed for a certain and expeditious means of trans- 
porting their ships' cargoes from the Southern Coast to London, 
so as to avoid the dangers of sailing through the Downs. With 
this end in view, an extraordinary scheme for a ship canal from 
Spithead to London was projected, at an estimated cost of 
£4,000,000. Mr. Giles, a well known engineer, was appointed 
to survey the country, but after considerable discussion as to its 
practicability, the idea was abandoned, and the hopes of ship- 
owners, which had for the time been raised, were dashed to the 
ground. In 1825, reports reached Southampton of the completion 
and success of George Stephenson's line of railway from Stockton 
to Darlington. A few enterprising men in the neighbourhood 
appear at once to have been seized with the idea that such a rail- 
way from Southampton to London would answer all the purposes 
of a canal and prove the salvation of London merchantmen. 
So a railway was projected, or rather, perhaps, suggested, for 
we doubt if the promoters had much faith in the establishment 

of the, at that time, novel mode of locomotion. Their ideas of 
utilizing the railway were confined entirely to the conveyance 
of merchandise ; passenger traffic had then hardly heen thought 
of, for it was not until the 10th Octoher, 1826, that Stephenson 
ran the first passenger carriage from Stockton to Darlington. 
This carriage, called the " Experiment/ ' was formed of an 
old coach hody fastened upon flanged wheels. 

The promoters of the line from Southampton to London 
being the first to propose a railway in Southern England, were as 
a natural consequence met with ridicule in all directions, and their 
scheme was regarded as the outcome of disordered imagina- 
tions. The principle of railways had scarcely been recognized 
in the north, where the only opportunity existed for practical 
knowledge ; much less in a town so far removed from the scene 
of operations as Southampton. Even supposing the public to 
have been as well informed in 1825 as they were ten years 
later, it is very improbable that the scheme would have floated. 
The times were out of joint ; trade was bad ; the political world 
was in a state of excitement, and on the Stock Exchange a 
mania for Greek loans had been followed by the inevitable 
panic. So the scheme fell through. 

Six stormy years passed away. The trade of the country 
was still bad, and the distress, especially amongst the agricul- 
tural classes, fearful. This was notably the case in Hampshire, 
where, in the latter part of 1880, the labourers, who declared 
their sufferings to be past all endurance, rose en masse and 
levied blackmail on the inhabitants of the villages adjacent to 
Basingstoke, Winchester, and Andover. Meanwhile in the 
North, the Stockton and Darlington, and the Manchester and 
Liverpool Railways gradually obtained favour and paid good 
dividends, till shrewd men saw the coming change and pre- 
pared to profit by it. On February 26th, 1881, a private 
meeting was held at the residence of Mr. Dottin, M.P. for 
Southampton ; the old London and Southampton scheme, plus 
the establishment of docks at the latter town, was revived, a 
committee of investigation appointed, and £400 subscribed to 


meet the first expenses ; the services of Mr. Giles, the engineer 
previously mentioned, were also secured. On the 6th of the 
following April, the prospectus of the " Southampton, London 
and Branch Railway and Dock Company " was issued, capital 
£1,500,000, divided into shares of £25 each. The promoters 
were William Fitzhugh, Robert Shedden, Philip LeFevre, 
John Story Penleaze, George Henderson, John King, William 
Colson Westlake, Edwin Godden Jones, Richard Davidson 
Pritchard, Robert Johnson, Samuel LeFevre, William James 
LeFevre, and Samuel Raymond Jarvis. A public meeting 
was held the same day in the Town Hall, Southampton, 
Colonel Henderson taking the chair. His speech has been 
preserved verbatim, and gives us an insight of the ideas and 
expectations of the promoters. After describing the route, he 
called the attention of his audience to the price of coal in the 
central parts of the proposed line, where he stated its price 
ranged from fifty to sixty shillings per chaldron, whereas at 
Southampton it was from twenty-three to thirty shillings only. 
A calculation had been made, founded upon the census of 1821, 
of the population within ten miles on each side of the proposed 
line; and this calculation showed it to be about 185,000 
persons. Assuming this to be accurate and allowing about 
five persons to each family, there were 27,000 families to be 
supplied with fuel. All knew that the consumption of fuel in 
different families varied according to their means, and ranged 
from 120 chaldrons of the great landowner, to the chaldron 
and a half or a bushel per week of the poor man. He (Colonel 
Henderson) had had some difficulty in fixing an average con- 
sumption for the 27,000 families in the town and country 
parishes near the proposed line ; but, from the best information 
at his disposal, he believed that five chaldrons on an average for 
each family might be considered a fair consumption, thus : — 
27,000 families, exclusive of Southampton and neighbourhood, 
using 5 chaldrons per annum, would amount in the aggregate 
to 185,000 chaldrons, and supposing a charge of 6s. per 
chaldron to be the average charge for conveyance along the 


whole line, the income from this source would alone amount to 
£40,500. He might be told that the whole supply would 
not go from Southampton, but his reply was that it mattered 
not from which end of the line, whether from London or 
Southampton, the supply be sent, for if the railway offered 
the cheapest mode of conveyance, a preference would be given 
to it over every other means, and the profit would be the same. 
The gallant Colonel appealed to the humane and charitable to 
support the undertaking on account of the benefit it would 
confer upon the poor, while at the same time they 
would effect a saving in their own coal bills of five per cent., 
and also receive a dividend from the carriage of coals alone of 
£2 per cent. If his reasoning held good in respect of coals, it 
must be equally valid in reference to numerous other articles, 
such as sugar, teas, groceries of all descriptions, timber, wines, 
foreign fruits, silks, manufactured goods of all kinds, and 
indeed every article of necessity or luxury which was not the 
produce of the district. But the benefits would not end there, 
for the railway and docks would give a facility, rapidity, and 
cheapness of transport and of shipment to all the produce of 
the district. He would ask, therefore, might they not hope for 
the warmest support of every inhabitant along the line, even if 
the advantages were no greater than those which he had 
shown ? But when it was manifest that the profits upon the 
undertaking would yield an ample return from many other 
sources, they might justly expect to be cheered on in their 
progress by the unanimous approbation of the whole population 
of the district. The next item on his scale of profits would 
arise from the conveyance of passengers. It had been shewn 
in a report by Capt. Stephens that 100,000 persons embarked 
and disembarked annually from steam and other passage 
vessels at Southampton. The majority of these came from 
distant parts of the country. It was a reasonable assumption 
therefore to calculate upon 100,000 passengers annually using the 
railway, and taking these at 10s. each for long and short journeys, 
they had a profit of £50,000 per allium upon passengers. 

Captain Stephens had shewn in his report that the quantity of 
goods and parcels passing through the district annually was 
about 80,262 tons, and that the cost of carriage by road was 
about £68,273. If these could be transported along the 
railway with increased celerity and safety at one-third of the 
cost, or at £21,091, were they not to infer that preference 
would not only be given to the railway over every other means 
of conveyance, but that a great increase would take place in 
the quantity of goods so transported? He calculated the 
income on the carriage of foreign fruits to be £20,000 ; fish 
traffic, £3,650 ; Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Wight, £8,000 ; 
corn, hops, &c., £3,000 ; coasting and western trade, £10,000; 
French and Irish traffic, £4,000 each ; timber and building 
materials, £4,000 ; West Indian and Canada trade, £5,000 
each ; United States, £3,000 ; and South American, 
Mediterranean, Portuguese, Spanish, and East Indian, £1,000 
each; total income, £181,241. The working expenses were 
estimated at £61,241, leaving a profit of £120,000 per annum, 
or 10 per cent, upon the estimated outlay. He considered 
that two locomotive engines making two trips a day each, 
would be sufficient for passengers at the opening of the 
railway, and that three engines would be adequate for the 
transport of goods. By reports from the engineers on the 
Darlington line, the rails and chairs were expected to last 
thirty years ; on the other hand the Liverpool line engineers, 
where the traffic was greater, expected the rails and chairs to 
last but twenty years. He might be asked on what data he 
formed his calculation that two engines would be sufficient for 
transporting 300 passengers daily, or 100,000 annually along 
the line ; or that three engines would suffice to transport the 
goods mentioned. His answer was, that one of the last 
improved engines, called the Samson, transported upwards of 
100 tons, exclusive of the weight of the carriages, in about two 
hours and a half from Liverpool to Manchester, with an 
expenditure^ only 20s. worth of fuel. If, therefore, engines 
of equal power were eDjJoyed, one engine could transport daily 


in two trips 3000 passengers, allowing fifteen persons 
to the ton ; but his allowance was only 300 passengers to two 
engines, at two trips each, so that he was supposing only one 
twentieth part of the power to be used. Again, one engine of 
equal power with the Samson could transport 31,300 tons of 
goods annually, exclusive of Sundays. Three such engines 
could therefore move, making each only one trip a day, 93,000 
tons, and when this quantity was brought upon the rail it was 
needless for him to say that the income would be such as to 
enable the proprietors to increase their number of engines with 
advantage. If he were asked on what grounds the calculation 
had been formed for completing the railway at the cost of 
£1,200,000, his reply was, that contracts had lately been 
entered into for completing a railway at the rate of £14,000 
per mile through a very difficult country. They might therefore 
expect to complete theirs at about £10,000 per mile ; but even 
taking £14,000 as the cost, this, for seventy-eight miles, would 
amount to £1,092,000. Supposing their road to be sixty feet 
wide, it would require the purchase of 566 acres of land ; but 
allowing 650 acres to be requisite for warehouses and other 
purposes ; and that they should be called upon to pay £100 
per acre, which was more than five times the value of the poor 
heath over which the railway would mainly pass, they might 
contemplate an outlay at the utmost of £1,092,000 for seventy- 
eight miles, at £14,000 per mile ; £65,000 for 650 acres at £100 
per acre; and £43,000 for contingencies; total £1,200,000 
He would now draw the attention of his audience to the docks, 
which formed a part of the undertaking. It would be apparent 
to everyone who had considered the subject, that the docks 
and the railway were intimately connected, and of such 
paramount importance to each other that the one without the 
other would be unproductive ; for were the docks to be constructed 
without the railway, the cargoes of vessels could not be trans- 
ported into the interior, nor the return brought to the coast ; 
and if the railway were to be called into existence without the 
docks, there would not be sufficient traffic to produce a beneficial f 


return. The two together would, however, render the measure 
complete, and the benefit would be reciprocal. He felt the 
great difficulty of forming calculations upon prospective com- 
merce, and of stating anything like the amount of profit which 
might be anticipated from the dock part of the undertaking. 
But when he took into consideration the geographical position 
of the port, with all its local advantages, its facilites of entrance 
and exit, its safety from the elements, its protection from an 
enemy, and its adaptation for commerce — when he could 
pronounce professionally on the facility and economy with 
which docks could be constructed at Southampton — and when 
he contemplated the great advantages which such works would 
yield to shipping, by offering them a safe asylum, by relieving 
them from the dangerous passage through the Downs, and of 
capture by an enemy, — he confessed he could not comprehend 
how such manifold and manifest advantages could fail to produce 
their hitherto unvaried results. He had been told that it was 
difficult to move commerce into new channels ; but he would 
fearlessly say that this was a mistake. It was a mistake to 
suppose that the enlightened British merchant would confine 
his commercial speculations to one particular spot — that because 
he had been successful in one corner of the empire, he would 
be unwilling to adventure in another. The influence of 
the British merchant's enterprise and capital was to be traced 
in every part of the civilized world, and he was ever ready to 
foster new outlets for commerce, and to encourage new channels 
for industry. To such men as these Britain owed her 
commercial greatness; to such men as these he looked for 
support in the undertaking, and he trusted he should not look 
in vain. He concluded by calling attention to the national 
importance of the undertaking, and thought it required no 
stretch of imagination to foretell that, in the event of a war, it 
would afford that shelter to commercial shipping which had 
ever been a subject of engrossing importance, but which, since 
steam navigation, must be, in the minds of reflecting men, 
one of painful anxiety. A warm supporter of the project had 


said — "If your docks and railways are not carried into effect, 
more value to shipping and merchandise will be lost to England 
in the two first years of a war, than would suffice to pave your 
railways with gold instead of iron, and to face your docks with 
silver instead of stone." As to the advantages to the port of 
Southampton, he thought there could not be a doubt that 
the influx of commerce would far exceed any calculation 
which he could venture to lay down, and he would predict 
without pretending to any prophetic inspiration, that, before 
three years had expired there was not one man of all 
whom he saw before him, who would not lament that the 
undertaking had not been sooner set on foot. 

Questions were put to the chairman as to the cost of 
engines. From his replies we gather that he estimated the 
cost of a locomotive, of equal power with the Samson, at £500, 
and the expense of working it 20s. per week. A Mr. Birnie, 
of Basingstoke, gave it as his opinion that a water communi- 
cation might be made from Southampton to Basingstoke for 
half a million, and there joining the Basing Canal, answer 
nearly all the purposes of a railroad, and at much less expense. 
He did not consider there was any great advantage in carrying 
goods with so much rapidity. Mr. Birnie's opinion did not 
however appear to be shared in by the majority of Col. 
Henderson's audience, for they showed themselves very 
enthusiastic on behalf of the scheme as far as cheering went. 

Although little or no opposition was manifest at this 
meeting, it must not be supposed that the sanguine expectations 
of the promoters were held by the public generally. Quite the 
reverse. It was looked upon by outsiders as a mad enterprise 
and the calculations of Col. Henderson were described as 
visionary. Many of its foremost advocates being politicians, 
it was said to have been promoted for political purposes. As 
for those engaged in the coaching interest they merely shrugged 
their shoulders, in a manner clearly expressive of pity for any 
who believed such a scheme would ever become a reality. They 
did not however actively oppose the promoters ; probably they 


thought such a project would not require any of their assist- 
ance in falling to the ground. But they reckoned without 
their host. The promoters were not men to be turned aside 
by ridicule or daunted by difficulties. They proceeded to draw 
up a code of rules and regulations for the government of 
the Company until the Act of Parliament could be obtained, 
and showed themselves so far in earnest as to enter into 
communication with the leading men of Bath and Bristol 
for a branch line from Basingstoke, through Hungerford, 
Newbury and Devizes, to those towns. Their rules and 
regulations contained amongst others the following clauses : — 

" That (as the interests of the Corporation of Southampton may be 
affected by the intended operations of the Company) the Directors shall 
be at liberty to appoint the Mayor of Southampton for the time being a 
Director by virtue of his office, not only for the year of his mayoralty 
but for the next following year." 

"That John Fleming, Esq., M.P., of Stoneham Park, John 
Masterman, Esq., of the City of London, banker, Abel Rons Dottin, Esq., 
M.P., of Bugle Hotel, Southampton, and James Barlow Hoy, Esq., of 
Midenbury House, near Southampton, haying consented to become 
Trustees of the trust funds, to be subscribed for the purposes of the said 
undertaking, they are hereby accordingly appointed and declared to be 
such Trustees thereof." 

" That George Henderson, Esq., be the Chairman of the Board of 

" That Robert Johnston, Esq., be one of the Deputy-Chairmen, and 
that the Board of Directors be empowered to appoint other Deputy- 

" That the Hon. Peter Boyle de Blaquiere, be the Treasurer of the 
proposed Company, and that he have a seat at the Board of Directors, 
and be entitled to vote as a Director accordingly; but that he be 
disqualified from subscribing for, or holding any shares in the said 

" That John Barney, Esq., be the Solicitor of the proposed Company 
or undertaking, and that the Directors have power to appoint one or 
more Solicitors residing in or near London or Westminster." 

"That Edward Loney Stephens, Esq., be the Secretary to the 
proposed Company or undertaking." 

With a view of facilitating the proposed branch rail- 
way to Bath and Bristol, instead of planning a straight line 


from Southampton to London, a bend was made at Basingstoke ; 
the alteration caused a slight increase in the mileage, but the 
promoters considered this drawback to be more than compen- 
sated for by the help which they thus expected to induce the 
inhabitants of the Western counties to accord the undertaking. 
With the exception of Winchester, which then had a population 
of about 8,000, there were no towns of importance directly on 
the line of route. Basingstoke was a small market town ; 
Aldershot Camp had not been called into existence ; London 
did not even extend to Nine Elms, a neighbourhood described 
by a chronicler of the period as low and marshy, studded with 
windmills and pollard trees and Dutch like in appearance. 
Here it was proposed to erect the terminus of the line. As 
for Southampton, it boasted a population of only 19,000 ; its 
shipping accommodation was of the poorest description ; un - 
sightly mud banks surrounded the town, and shipmasters were 
often heard to declare that instead of being called upon to pay 
port dues, they themselves should be paid for coming thither. 
The coach traffic to the letter town averaged 1,060 passengers 
per week, the number of weekly journeys being 104. It was 
not altogether upon traffic to and from the places mentioned 
from which the estimate of revenue was compiled. Towns as 
far distant as Devonport, Gloucester and Cheltenham were 
expected to add their quota to the total, by means of coaches 
running to the nearest point on the railway. 


A London Meeting — Passing of the London and Birmingham Bill— The 
Bristol Extension — Increased Estimate of Revenue — Private 
Meeting of Noblemen and Gentlemen connected with the Western 
Counties — Application to Parliament — Evidence — Success. 

Actively following up the project detailed in Chapter I., 
the promoters left no stone unturned to convert landowners 
and men of position on the line of route to a favourable opinion 
of the undertaking. Colonel Henderson also visited Bath and 
Bristol for the purpose of learning the views held in those 
towns respecting the proposed branch from Basingstoke; he 
had previously travelled to Manchester in company with several 
of his colleagues, and made himself practically acquainted 
with the working of a line of railway. It was originally 
intended to apply to Parliament in the session of 1882 
for power to construct the line, but when the time arrived, 
the majority counselled delay, on account of the great expense, 
and the uncertainty as to the necessary number of shares 
being taken up. The London and Birmingham promoters 
had given notice of application to Parliament for their line, 
and doubtless the London and Southampton directors were 
anxious to see what degree of success the former company 
could obtain, before venturing to approach Parliament them- 
selves. It was therefore decided to postpone the application 
pro tern. In January, 1832, a meeting was held in London, 
where the promoters had the influential advocacy of Sir 
Thomas Baring, M.P. ; the plans of the line and the advantages 
likely to accrue therefrom were pointed out to the gentlemen 
present, and Mr. Giles, the engineer, answered many questions re- 
specting the cost of construction. The Dock portion of the project 
had by this time been abandoned, and the capital reduced to 
£1,000,000, divided into shares of £50 each. It was resolved 
to form a London committee, of which Sir Thomas Baring was 


chairman, the other members being C. Shaw Lefevre, M.P., 
J. S. Penleaze, M.P., R. Williams, M.P., John Masterman, 
J. Rivett Carnac, Robert Shedden, H. Shaw Lefevre, and John 
Bush Warner, Esquires. The Southampton Committee was 
also re- arranged, and comprised the following gentlemen : — 
G. Henderson, Esq., Chairman, The Honourable P. B. 
De Blaquiere, James Barlow Hoy, Edwin Godden Jones, 
M.D., William Fitzhugh, W. Colson Westlake, John King, 
W. J. Le Feuvre, and William Ward, Esquires. 

The London and Birmingham Bill passed safely through 
the Houses of Parliament. The cost of obtaining the Act reached 
a total of £90,000, thus proving how wise was the advice given 
to the London and Southampton promoters. On July 11th a 
meeting was held at the City of London Tavern, Sir T. Baring, 
M.P., in the chair. The honourable baronet congratulated the 
meeting upon the prospects of the undertaking as evidenced by 
the passing of the London and Birmingham Bill. He had 
been an advocate for delay because he thought time ought to be 
afforded those who might embark their money in the specula- 
tion, to fully consider the plan, and form their own estimate with 
respect to its feasibility. It was now the opinion of many that had 
a subscription been opened at the time of the former meeting, 
£200,000 at least would have been put down ; but he rejected 
the proposition, because he wished those who entered upon the 
undertaking not to depend on the opinion of others, but judge 
coolly and dispassionately for themselves before parting with 
their money. Colonel Henderson read a report from the Com- 
mittee appointed to consider the benefits likely to arise from 
collateral connection with other places, and the Bristol Exten- 
sion, whereby a communication would be opened up with Ireland 
and Wales. The Committee acknowledged the obligation they 
were under to the London and Birmingham promoters for 
paving the way in Parliament. They were of opinion that the 
Bristol extension should be brought in by a separate Bill after 
the passing of the Southampton line. They continued to 
receive assurances of the concurrence and support of the land 


owners along the line. As an instance, they made mention 
that Sir T. Baring had not only given his consent that the 
railway should pass through his land, to the extent of about 
seven miles, but had signified his intention of taking in 
shares whatever compensation he might receive. The Com- 
mittee concluded their report by calling attention to the fact 
that the London and Birmingham Company had established, 
by evidence before the House of Commons Committee, several 
profitable sources of revenue which the London and Southamp- 
ton promoters had not included in their estimate. They now 
considered themselves justified in inserting those profits, which 
would result in bringing the estimates up to a gross annual 
income of £359,250 16s., or nearly thirty-six per cent, per 
annum upon the outlay of one million. 

On the 23rd of the same month a private meeting of 
noblemen and gentlemen connected with the Western counties 
of England, and with the South of Ireland and Wales, was held 
at the house of W. Courtenay, Esq., 18, Duke Street, West- 
minster, for the purpose of taking into consideration the pro- 
posed railway and its probable results. After details of the 
measure had been gone through, much interesting information 
was given by several gentlemen present, among them an 
extensive cattle salesman, who pointed out the advantages of 
bringing cattle by rail for the supply of the London markets. 
He stated the losses of farmers and graziers by the 
method of driving, then in vogue, to be very great. The 
number of cattle coming to London annually from Hants, 
Wilts, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, was about 
6,000 sheep and lambs, and 50,000 cattle, and of country killed 
meat about 3,446 tons, which last could, he said, well afford 
to pay at the rate of a farthing per lb. for carriage over a 
distance of fifty or sixty miles. He considered that the supply 
of country killed meat would be increased at least four-fold, 
which would yield to the railway a return of £30,000 a year. 

The sense of the meeting, after discussion and examination 
of the plans and calculations, was decidedly favourable to the 


undertaking, and the gentlemen present unanimously expressed 
and thus recorded their opinion : — " That this meeting highly 
" approves of the plan submitted, and the steps which the 
"Committee of Management has taken for establishing a 
" railway communication from London to Southampton, and 
" feels confident that the cheap, safe, and expeditious con- 
" veyance it will afford, must be productive of great benefit to 
"the South Western parts of England; and also, if a branch 
"be carried to Bristol to the Southern parts of Ireland and 
" Wales. 

" That this meeting can recommend the undertaking, as 
" offering a means of employment to the poor, promoting in- 
" dustry, increasing trade, improving the internal resources of 
" the nation, and as promising an ample return upon the 
" invested capital." 

Notwithstanding the encouragement and assistance 
accorded the promoters, it was not until the session of 1834 that 
application to Parliament was made. Witnesses were called 
who estimated the profit at £207,485 19s. 3d. This amount 
was divided into " present traffic estimated at railway prices," 
and " prospective traffic ;" the former being made up as 
follows : — Coach passengers, £118,498 18s. ; posting pas- 
sengers, £7,082 8s. ; coach parcels, £12,711 16s. 8d. ; 
waggon traffic, £29,768 6s. ; cattle traffic, £27,155 ; total, 
£195,216 8s. 8d., less cost of maintenance of way and locomo- 
tive power, £87,798 lis. 5d. ; profit, £107,417 17s. 3d. The 
prospective traffic comprised, £23,333 6s. 8d. upon the amount 
of fish then caught in the Torbay Fishery; 100 per cent, 
increase on passengers, £118,498 18s. ; increase on country 
killed meat, £4,666, 13s. 4d., and increase on heavy goods, 
£5,569 4s. ; total, £152,068 2s. ; less cost of maintenance 
of way and locomotive power upon such increased trade, 
£52,000; profit upon prospective traffic, £100,068 2s. 
Among the witnesses called to prove the national and local 
importance of the line were Admiral Sir J. Thomas Hardy, 


one of the Lords of the Admiralty, the Hon. Capt. Elliott, 
Captains Ward, Cater, Stephens, and Forder, of the Royal 
Navy, who bore testimony to the advantages which commercial 
vessels would enjoy, particularly in time of war, and during 
adverse winds, of receiving and discharging tfreir cargoes at 
Southampton, instead of encountering the dangers of the 
passage from the Isle of Wight to London. General Sir 
Willoughby Gordon, Quarter-Master General of the Army, 
also gave evidence as to the great advantage which the line would 
afford to the military service of the country. No expense was 
spared to obtain evidence upon all matters connected with 
the undertaking. The fishery and agricultural interests 
were strongly represented, the latter testifying to the com- 
parative cheapness with which the railway could be con- 
structed, a surplus agricultural population having reduced 
the price of labour to a very low rate. The principal 
evidence in support of the estimate of prospective traffic was 
afforded by the Manchester and Liverpool, and Stockton and 
Darlington Lines ; travelling upon the former had increased 
three-fold and upon the latter upwards of twenty-fold from the 
date of opening. Mr. Giles expected to open the Southampton 
line for the distance of at least twenty miles out of London in 
the course of two years, and to complete the whole work in 
three years. Provisions were expressly inserted in the Bill 
that no call should be made exceeding £5 per share, and that 
three months at least should intervene between any two calls. 
The liability of the shareholder was not to exceed the amount 
of capital subscribed. After months of anxiety the promoters 
were rewarded by the passing of the Bill through both Houses 
of Parliament. The cost of obtaining the Act amounted to 




Rival Schemes — Manchester to the Rescue — Fighting the Great Western. 

If the London and Southampton Directors looked forward 
to a period of comparative inactivity after the passing of their 
Bill, or thought that less care and watchfulness would be 
needed when power had been obtained to construct the line, 
their pleasant illusions were soon rudely dispelled. The 
sanction of the ^Legislature thoroughly roused the coaching 
interest — no mean power in those days, — and their previous 
supineness suddenly changed to unwonted activity. They 
began to think that after all, there might, perhaps, be something 
in the scheme, and if so, their business would be seriously 
injured. Toward the close of the year 1834, these opponents 
were augmented by the promoters of a line called the Great 
Western, which had been thrown out by the Lords in a 
previous session. This scheme was originally very incomplete, 
consisting partly of railway and partly of canal communication 
between the Metropolis and Bristol ; it was now proposed to 
ask Parliament for leave to construct a line from London to 
Bristol direct. As the London and Southampton Company's 
proposed branch from Basingstoke to Bath and Bristol was 
also to be taken to the House in the same session, the Great 
Western were naturally brought into rivalry with the former 
Comply. When therefore it was decided at the first general 
meeting of the London and Southampton subscribers, held at 
the City of London Tavern, on the 24th of October, 1834, to 
make a call of £3 per share to enable the engineer to 
prosecute the excavations with vigour during the winter months, 
every effort was made by their opponents to prejudice the 
shareholders and the public against the undertaking. 


Anonymous circulars and pamphlets by the thousand were 
issued ; advertisements and paragraphs were also inserted in 
the newspapers crying down the line. The principal objection 
urged was that the line could not be constructed at the cost ; 
this was founded mainly upon the authority of Stephenson, 
who averred that in cutting through St. George's Hill,Weybridge , 
" the whole wealth and strength of the Company would be for 
ever buried." Looking at Stephenson's previous and subsequent 
career, and the engineering difficulties he overcame, in 
comparison with which the Weybridge cutting is a mere trifle, it 
is hard to understand such a remark emanating from him. 
There is reason to believe that he was actuated by a desire to 
pay off an old score against Mr. Giles, who, in his evidence on 
the first Liverpool and Manchester Bill, said, " No engineer in 
his senses would go through Ghat Moss if he wanted to make 
a railway from Liverpool to Manchester." This evidence was 
instrumental in procuring the rejection of the Bill, a result 
which was to Stephenson one of the most severe reverses he 
met with in the course of his life. The great engineer's 
assertion, from whatever cause it arose, gave opponents a 
convenient handle, and one of which they made every use, to 
hurl their arguments respecting the cost of construction at the 
heads of the unhappy directors. Another objection to the line 
was that it could not be finished in the time stated. One 
sapient gentleman prophesied that the railway would never be 
made, or if made, never used ; another said it would be used 
only for the conveyance of " parsons and prawns — the one from 
Winchester, the other from Southampton." So persistent and 
fierce did these onslaughts at length become, that at the com- 
mencement of the year 1835, to own being connected with 
the Southampton Railway, was, in the words of a prominent 
shareholder, " to make choice of being considered either a fool 
or a rogue." 

Half the capital had been found in Manchester, and there 
the shareholders, with the experience of the Liverpool and 
Manchester line before them, boldly stood to their guns. At a 


meeting held on the 5th of January, 1885, at the Royal Hotel 
in that town, they strongly urged upon the shareholders in 
Edinburgh and Glasgow-r-where committees had lately been 
formed— the vast importance of supporting the Basingstoke 
and Bath extension. Again, at the first half-yearly general 
meeting, held on the 27th of February, 1835, Mr. Reed — 
subsequently secretary of the Company — was deputed by the 
Lancashire shareholders to express their views upon the pro- 
posed extension. They objected to any of the Southampton 
funds being used for the purposes of the line, but advocated the 
incorporation of the two Companies, should the Act be passed. 

The Great Western promoters in the meantime were by 
no means idle. Public meetings were held at various places 
on the line of route ; in Bristol more especially, great efforts were 
made to obtain support. At one meeting a Mr. Ramsbotham 
appealed to the well known cuteness of Bristol men by citing an 
old saying to the effect, that " if you shake a Bristol man, a Jew 
and a Quaker in a bag, it is odds on the Bristol man coming 
out first." Such reasoning as this, coupled with the high- 
sounding name of Great Western, and the fact that it was 
described as the Direct Bristol Railway, gained many supporters, 
and the line became the favourite. 

The Parliamentary inquiry into the merits of the rival 
schemes extended over 46 days. Many landed proprietors and 
the Eton College authorities joined the Southampton Company 
in opposing the Great Western. During the proceedings the 
Chairman of the House of Lords Committee — who was after- 
wards described by Mr. Easthope as " something like the 
counsel for the Great Western," — let fall a remark which led 
the Southampton directors to offer their rivals a junction at 
Frimley, but this, together with a proposal that the road from 
London to Basingstoke should be made jointly by the two 
Companies for their mutual benefit, was rejected. The Great 
Western Bill was passed. At the next half-yearly meeting of 
the Southampton proprietary, the chairman, Mr. J. Wright, in 
commenting upon their defeat, said they had, in compliance 


with the desire of a large body of proprietors, felt it incumbent 
on them to join. in opposing the progress of the Great Western 
Railway Bill in Parliament, under the impression that the 
Basingstoke and Bath Line was the best for the interests of 
the London and Southampton proprietary. Independently of 
these considerations, the directors believed that this would 
afford the most favourable opportunity for disproving by 
evidence on oath, the gross misrepresentations which had been 
industriously propagated to the prejudice of the Southampton 
Railway. The latter object had been obtained ; the refutation 
had been complete. The superiority of the Basingstoke and 
Bath Line was also proved; notwithstanding which, the 
promoters of the Great Western Line had succeeded, by means 
unlooked for as unprecedented, in obtaining a vote in their 

With this barren result the shareholders were forced to 
be content* 


Gommenoing Work — New Directors— Dutch Canals versus Railways- 
Discontented Shareholders— Resignation of the Engineer- 
Unexpected Expenditure. 

During the progress of the contest described in the last 
chapter, Mr. Giles, the engineer, and Colonel Henderson, — the 
latter resigning his position as director to become general 
superintendent, — were busy arranging contracts and laying out 
the line from London to Basingstoke. It was stated at the 
second general half-yearly meeting held on August 31st, 1835, 
that the Company were in possession of thirty miles of line 
between the points named, and that contracts had been made 
for the supply of 6,000 tons of permanent iron rails, together 
with locomotive engines, and a large stock of waggons. The 
engineer found labour very cheap and plentiful. The excava- 
tions and embankments were commenced in various places, 
and brick grounds were opened upon the line for bridge 
building purposes. 

At the meeting referred to, the appointment of John 
Watkins Drew, Vincent Eyre, John Lewis, Simon M. Gillivray 
and Henry Waymouth, Esquires, as directors was announced ; 
these gentlemen taking the places of The Hon. P. B. De 
Blaquiere, G. Henderson, J. Mackillop, J. S. Penleaze and 
R. Williams, Esquires, who had resigned. The shareholders 
unanimously voted £500 per annum to defray the expenses of 
the directors. After granting this amount they urged upon 
the latter the necessity of completing the line at the earliest 
possible moment, so as to be the first railway out of London, 
and Mr. Giles stated that the first twelve miles of road would 
be opened within eighteen months. 

Railway schemes now began to multiply, and in the year 
- 1886 we find the Brighton and South Eastern Companies, 


amongst others, applying to the London and Southampton 
directors for leave to form junctions with their line. Although 
so many new railways were projected, opponents were as 
numerous as ever, and aired their ideas at every possible 
opportunity. One newspaper gave the views of a large canal 
proprietor upon the subject, which albeit amusing, doubtless 
coincided with the opinions of many. He said, " I foresee 
what the effect will be — it will set all the world a-gadding. 
Twenty miles an hour ! why, you will not be able to keep an 
apprentice boy at work; every Saturday evening he must make 
a trip to spend the Sabbath with his sweetheart. Grave 
plodding citizens will be flying about like comets. All local 
attractions will be at an end. It will encourage flightiness of 
intellect. Veracious people will turn into the most immeasure- 
able liars ; all their conceptions will be exaggerated by their 
magnificent notions of distance. And then, there will be 
barrels of pork, and cargoes of flour, and chaldrons of coals, 
and even lead and whiskey, and such like sober things, that 
have always been used to sober travelling, whisking along like 
a set of sky rockets ! It will upset the gravity of the nation ! 
Think of flying for debt ; a set of bailiffs mounted on bomb- 
shells would not overtake an absconded debtor, only give him 
a fair start. Give me the old, solemn, straightforward, 
regular Dutch Canal, three miles an hour for expresses, and 
two for jog and trot journeys, with a yoke of oxen for a heavy 
load. I go for beasts of burthen, it is more primitive and 
scriptural, and suits a moral and religious people better. 
None of your hop-skip and jump whimsies for me." This 
gentleman's prognostications were most likely coloured by the 
fact that he was interested in a rival mode of locomotion, but 
no such excuse can be urged on behalf of the John Bull, a 
paper then commanding a large circulation and proportionate 
influence. The writer of an article therein, after calling 
railways " a new fangled absurdity," thus delivered himself: — 
" Does anybody mean to say that decent people, passengers 
who would use their own carriages, and are accustomed to 


their own comforts, would consent to be hurried through the 
air upon a railroad, from which, had a lazy schoolboy left a 
marble, or a wicked one a stone, they would be pitched off their 
perilous track into the valley beneath ; or is it to be imagined 
that women, who may like the fun of being whirled away on a 
party of pleasure for an hour to see a sight, would endure the 
fatigue, misery and danger, not only to themselves but their 
children and families, of being dragged through the air at the 
rate of 20 miles an hour, all their lives being at the mercy of 
a tin pipe, or a copper boiler, or the accidental dropping of a 
pebble by the way." Such were the opinions of a by no means 
inconsiderable section of the British public, prior to the 
opening of a railway out of London. 

The Southampton Docks Bill was passed in this year 
(1886), Mr. Giles being the engineer ; he also undertook the 
survey of a line from Bishopstoke to Portsmouth. These 
new duties necessarily occupied a great portion of his time, 
and the London and Southampton line suffered in consequence. 
Early in the year only ten miles of road had been formed, 
comprising however some of the heaviest works. In Sep- 
tember, twenty-two miles were reported complete. The 
shareholders now began to be discontented at such slow 
progress, and the northern proprietors appointed a deputation 
to inspect the line and view the state of the works. This 
resulted in the resignation of Mr. Giles. He had no doubt 
great difficulties to contend with, the multiplication of rail- 
ways not only caused a great increase in the rate of pay, but 
the labourers being in such demand, became unmanageable 
and worked only when they thought proper ; the extreme 
wetness of the season also interfered with the progress of the 
works. To add to the discontent of the shareholders, owners 
of property unexpectedly demanded a high price for their land, 
and claims for compensation also reached an alarming figure. 
There were one or two exceptions among the landowners, 
notably Mr. Bainbridge, of Shapley, who not only rendered 
the Company all the assistance in his power, but gave the 


land necessary for a road through his estate free of all expense, 
and he it was who turned the first sod on the line. In 
addition to land, iron and other materials rose in price. The 
Company's first contract for iron rails was made at £7 18s. 6d. 
per ton, the price now reached £14 per ton. As stated else- 
where, the original estimate for land was £65,000 ; the actual 
cost exceeded £300,000. Other railway companies, later in 
the field than the London and Southampton, were subject to 
even more extraordinary claims, in one instance £24,000 were 
demanded for two and a half acres, and £1,054 awarded by a 

J U1 7- 

t *i / -F ^4f 

«fev ^>^S^ — cvfl/?^ ^^~~> Vf" 

y~ met?*. 

i- T* ^^ ^ ..tittli S *■ ^& t- ## ti V 

■' * ' 


Stephenson's Pupil— An Amended Act— A Friendly Coach Proprietor — 
The Great Contractor. 

Mr. Joseph Locke, a pupil of Stephenson's, and engineer 
of the Grand Junction Railway from Birmingham to Liverpool, 
was Mr. Giles' successor. Upon his arrival early in 1887, he 
found ahout twenty-five miles of road formed at various places, 
and the Company in possession of nearly the whole of the land 
necessary for the line, including six and a half acres adjoining 
the site of the proposed docks at Southampton, which had 
been obtained from the Corporation of that town for a nominal 
consideration. In addition to the proposed Portsmouth branch, 
a company had been incorporated called the South Western, 
for making a line from Basingstoke, through Salisbury to 
Taunton, and another line was under survey from Basingstoke 
to join the London and Birmingham Railway; all three 
schemes being promoted by independent companies* 

The directors were on the point of applying to Parliament 
for an amended Act, to enable them to make a deviation, so as 
to avoid tunnelling ; also for power to raise £500,000, a sum 
which unexpected expenditure had shewn to be necessary to 
effect the completion of the line, and to furnish engines and 
other stock, the latter not being included in the original 
estimate. It was proposed to create 16,000 new £25 shares, 
each share to be entitled to the same dividend as the original 
share of £50, giving the holders of original shares the option 
of taking new shares in rateable proportion to the shares then 
held by them. This Bill became law in July, 1887. 

Mr. Locke's first step was to alter the form of contract 
entered into with the persons who were making the line. 


objecting to the system favoured by Mr. Giles, by which men 
of bat little capital, giving no security, contracted to make a 
cutting or embankment for so much per cubic yard. On 
getting the easiest half done, it was their custom to decline 
going further without an extra price. The Company having 
no bond for the performance of the work, were either obliged 
to yield to their exaction*, or have the work indefinitely de- 
layed. Mr. Locke's plan was to let the work to a responsible 
man, who would give a money guarantee for its execution, and 
engage to keep his work in repair for a certain period after 
completion, so that it would be to his interest to avoid 
scamping. The services of the majority of the small 
contractors he dispensed with entirely, letting to Mr. 
Brassey all the unfinished works from Wandsworth to the 
River Wey Navigation. The new engineer was strongly 
imbued with all the tact and energy needed in dealing with large 
bodies of men, and his activity soon began to bear fruit, the 
works progressing so rapidly, that the directors were able to 
announce at a meeting held in August, the great probability 
of the line being opened to Woking in the following May. 

Robert Garnett and Thomas Cook, Esquires, of Man- 
chester, were elected directors in this year, in the room of 
E. G. Jones and J. Whitchurch, Esquires. 

Reports having been again circulated to the effect that 
the traffic would be insufficient to pay a dividend, the directors 
became anxious to obtain an accurate return of the existing 
traffic by coach. This brought upon the scene Mr* Chaplin, a 
great coach proprietor, and one who was destined to play a 
prominent part in the history of the Company. He estimated 
the passenger receipts at £123,824, and the parcels at 
£20,253 ; other authorities, reckoning from the reports of 
inspectors placed for a fortnight at nine different stations on 
the Southampton and Portsmouth roads, and on the Basing- 
stoke Canal, calculated upon a total annual reveuue of 
£245,260. From these figures the directors expected a 
dividend of six per cent. 


Shortly after this Mr. Chaplin formed a closer alliance 
with the Company. The firm of Chaplin and Co., of which 
he was the principal, were at the time owners of 64 coaches 
and 1,500 horses, the annual return from the business pro- 
ducing £500,000. This immense concern, which had been 
worked up from very small beginnings, was conducted with 
unparalleled success. The firm also possessed many first class 
hotels in various parts of the country. Foreseeing the ineve- 
table result of railway competition, Mr. Chaplin urged upon 
his partner the desirability of disposing of the greater part of 
their plant. Almost the whole of the stock of coaches, horses 
etc., was consequently sold, the firm reserving only so much 
as was necessary to enable them to contract for the railway 
omnibuses and the branch coaches. Having thus turned the 
greater part of his property into money, the next question with 
Mr. Chaplin was, what he should do with it. He adopted a 
course not very usual, but strongly indicative of great strength 
of mind. With his property realized and placed in safety, in 
such shape that it could be immediately demanded, he left 
England, peremptorily closing up all avenues by which any 
business communications could reach him, and then went for 
six weeks into the heart of Switzerland, there to cogitate in 
silence and solitude over his future prospects and proceedings. 
He came to a conclusion which turned out most fortunate for 
him. He returned to England, and guided probably by his 
knowledge of the line, he embarked a considerable sum in the 
Southampton and London Railway. 

At the seventh half-yearly meeting, held on February 
28th, 1838, the directors were authorized to borrow a sum not 
exceeding £850,000. The intention of an independent 
Company to apply to Parliament for powers to construct a 
branch line to Guildford from Woking was notified. The 
Chairman, Mr. Easthope, M.P., announced positively that the 
line would be opened to Woking in May, and in the course of 
his speech paid a high tribute to the energy of Mr. Brassey, 
the contractor, whose exertions had contributed so much to 


the forward state of the works. Mr, Easthope said of him 
" he is one of the most able, the most punctual, and energetic 
men I ever met in my life." The son of a Cheshire yeoman, 
Mr. Brassey had at this time only just entered upon his 
connection with those undertakings in which he amassed his 
immense fortune. His connection with the Southampton 
Company was a long one. The amount of capital involved in 
the works executed by him on this railway alone exceeded 
£4,500,000, the average number of men employed on the line 
being 1,500. Before his first contract with the Company had 
expired, his fajae as a reliable man had procured him engage- 
ments in all directions, not only in England, but also on the 
Continent and later on in America, till in the zenith of his 
career he had in his employ an army of navvies and other 
workmen numbering 75,000. He was admitted to the Legion 
of Honour, Victor Emmanuel made him a Knight of St. 
Maurice and St. Lazarus ; and from the Emperor of Austria 
he received the Order of the Iron Crown, then given, it is said, 
for the first time to a foreigner. Between the Southampton 
and London engineer and Mr. Brassey a strong bond of friend- 
ship existed, and next to his own surpassing energy, his strong 
common sense, his modesty and simplicity of character, it is 
probable that he owed his marvellous success in life to the 
early patronage of Mr. Locke and of the Company whose 
history these pages record. 


Royal Patronage — Opening to Woking — Race Traffic — A Farther 
Extension — The Line Re -christened — Sunday Trains — The Rail- 
way open throughout. 

The time was now fast approaching when all prophecies 
and estimates of success or failure of the new mode of 
locomotion between London and the provinces, were to be 
placed beyond the realms of controversy, and advocates and 
opponents of the innovation anxiously awaited the result. 
Contrary to the hopes of promoters, the Southampton Company 
did not run the first train out of London ; that honour was 
snatched from them by the London and Birminghan Company, 
who opened a portion of their line in 1837. A mile or so of 
railway had been opened at Deptford in 1836, but it was 
intended merely as a show, with the usual attraction of bands 
of music, &c. The Southampton Company were not far behind, 
for thanks to Mr. Locke and Mr. Brassey, the directors, 
accompanied by several noblemen and members of Parliament, 
were enabled to make an experimental trip to Woking and 
back on May 12th, 1838. The speed attained exceeded 
twenty miles an hour, and the trip was in every way 
satisfactory. A banquet was subsequently given at the 
Clarendon Hotel, Mr. Easthope, taking the chair, and being 
supported on the right by the Duke of Sussex (uncle of Her 
Majesty the Queen) and on the left by the Earl of Carnarvon- 
Success to the undertaking — the future " high road to 
Europe " — was of course drunk with enthusiasm, and the Duke 
announced his belief in the Southampton Railway becoming 
one of the most favourite lines out of London. 

It must have been a proud day for the directors to find 
a member of the Royal Family of England according their 


offspring patronage and support, after the months and 
years of anxiety, to say nothing of misrepresentation and 
personal abuse to which they had been subject. It was to them 
altogether a new experience, and they doubtless accepted the 
Duke's presence as a happy augury of more peaceful and 
flourishing times. 

On the 19th of the same month a second party, consisting 
of nearly four hundred ladies and gentlemen, was taken to 
Woking Common in two trains of nine and ten carriages. On 
every eminence along the line admiring rustics gathered in 
thousands to cheer the train, and on Woking Common, where 
tents had been pitched and a cold collation provided for the 
visitors, a great crowd had assembled. One of the party 
described the outward journey as somewhat slow, on account of 
a stiff head wind prevailing, the effect of which was not 
diminished by several gentlemen taking their station on the 
tops of the low square roofed carriages. On the return, one 
train attained a speed of nearly thirty miles an hour ; the 
engine of the other burst a tube, and its arrival in London 
was retarded in consequence. 

Four days later, without any special demonstration, the 
line to Woking was publicly opened, a service of five trains 
running in each direction. In addition to Nine Elms and 
Woking, six stations had been built, viz., Wandsworth, 
Wimbledon, Kingston, Ditton Marsh, Walton, and Weybridge. 
Upon presenting themselves at the various stations, intending 
travellers were given a handbill setting forth the Company's 
regulations for working the line. One clause of this document 
enjoined passengers not to alight from a train or open a carriage 
door without the assistance of the Company's servants; another 
informed them that upon approaching habitations, or a curve 
in the line, the guard of the train would blow his whistle, to 
warn the people not to trespass on the railway. For the first 
few days passengers flocked from all the country side, and 
patronized the line for the mere novelty of the thing. Epsom 
races occurring in the following week, the Company advertised 


their intention of running eight trains to Kingston on Derby 
day, for the accommodation of the racing public. To the 
utter astonishment and alarm of officials arriving at Nine 
Elms Station early on the morning of that eventful day, a 
crowd of about 5,000 persons was found at the station gates. 
Several trains were despatched but still the throng increased, 
till at length the doors were carried off their hinges, and amid 
the shrieks of the female portion of their number, the mob 
broke over the booking counter, leaped through the windows, 
invaded the platform and rushed pell mell into a train chartered 
by a private party. Finding resistance useless, the officials 
sent for the metropolitan police, and at twelve o'clock a notice 
was posted on the booking office window announcing that no 
more trains would run that day. The Company's first experi- 
ment in the conveyance of race passengers cannot be described 
as a very successful one ; it is evident, however, that they were 
not discouraged, for a few weeks later they were found 
advertising trains to Woking for Ascot races. The second 
venture appears to have been conducted as well as the few 
wheezey locomotives at their command would permit. During 
the first four weeks the receipts were £8,085 15s. lid., repre- * 
senting 291,279 passengers ; as the summer advanced, the 
traffic gradually increased, till a total of £11,059 12s. 8d. for 
98,795 passengers was credited for the twelve weeks ending 
August 13th. This exhibited an amount of traffic greatly in 
excess of Mr. Chaplin's estimate, which was thought a very 
sanguine one. No goods or cattle had up to this time been 

On September 24th of the same year, a further section of 
the railway was opened to Winchfield, which had the effect of 
bringing the majority of the coaches running to the south 
west and west of England to that station. The traffic was 
found to be stationary for the remainder of the year, the 
opening of the extra distance having done little more than 
sustain the same amount of traffic as that between London and 
Woking during the summer months. The experience of the 


first half-year not only proved the existence of a far greater 
traffic than had been supposed ; it also taught the directors 
that the working expenses greatly exceeded their estimate, 
being 58f per cent, upon the gross receipts. 

The question of providing Portsmouth with direct railway 
accommodation next occupied the serious attention of the 
directors. The Portsmouth Junction Line, promoted by the 
shareholders as a separate undertaking, had failed, under the 
opposition of the inhabitants, to pass the House of Commons, 
they being in favour of a line by way of Horsham to join the 
Brighton Eailway. Immediately after its rejection they appear 
to have changed their minds, for a deputation was sent to the 
Southampton directors, asking if they were disposed to give 
them a line similar to that which they had defeated. In the 
meantime, the Lancashire shareholders, as principals in the 
Portsmouth Junction Bill, suggested that the Southampton 
and London Company should furnish the pecuniary means for 
making the line. This course was adopted, the whole of the 
shares being taken by proprietors of the parent line. The 
objection of the Portsmouth people to the line was actuated by 
rivalry existing between their town and Southampton. The 
very name of Southampton was odious to them, and so far was 
this jealousy carried, that it was only necessary to say that a 
thing came from Southampton to have it villified at Ports- 
mouth, or say that it came from Portsmouth to have it depre- 
cated at Southampton. " Why should we," said Portsmouth, 
" be under the wing of Southampton, and be indebted to the 
Southampton line for railway accommodation." Finding the 
difficulty of carrying their Portsmouth and Gosport Bill in the 
face of such opposition, the directors hit upon the happy 
expedient of inserting a clause in the Bill to sink the 
objectionable name of Southampton — though such it was only 
to the good folk of Portsmouth, — and to give their railway the 
more appropriate title of " The London and South Western." 
It was doubtless obvious to the directors that sooner or later a 
change of name must be made, for as the line extended, the 


original title would be not only inappropriate but misleading ; 
the change might therefore as well be made first as last, 
especially when it served to divest it of that element which a 
large and important town in the district deemed so objection- 

On June 40th, 1839, a party of directors travelled from 
London to Winchfield and formally opened the line from that 
station to Basingstoke. They were met along the line by the 
usual groups of cheering yokels, and at Basingstoke they par- 
took of the usual cold collation. At the same time another 
party of directors opened the section from Southampton to 
Winchester. This extension brought Southampton within five 
hours of London, the eighteen miles between Basingstoke and 
Winchester being performed by coaches. 

One result of this extension was the receipt of the 
following denunciation from the clergy of the diocese of Win- 
chester : — 

" To the Directors of the London and Southampton Railway Company. 

We the undersigned clergy of Winton and Southampton and their 
vicinities, beg most respectfully to invite your serious attention to the 
following memorial. 

We are deeply impressed with the conviction that the religious 
observance of the Lord's day is not only a duty binding upon us as 
Christians, but also that it is eminently conducive to the happiness and 
welfare of man as a social being ; and consequently that whatever tends 
to lower its authority, or affords a temptation to its neglect or desecration, 
must exercise a most prejudicial influence upon the well being of society. 
We perceive with the most unfeigned regret, that the day of religious 
rest is continually desecrated by the running of the trains upon the rail- 
way under your superintendence and with your sanction. We feel many 
strong grounds of objection to this practice, which we oannot but 
oonsider as a direct infringement of a divine command. We lament that 
a large body of men in your employ are practically altogether prevented 
from enjoying that season of cessation from worldly business which of 
right belongs to them, and are precluded from attending the worship of 
God with their fellow Christians. But we have other weighty reasons 
for entering our solemn protest against such a desecration of that Holy 
day. Being most of us charged with the spiritual oversight of parishes, 
which from their contiguity are materially affected by the railway, we 


observe with deep concern that oar parishioners are drawn away from 
attendance upon the services of the Church, and our congregation dimi- 
nished by the absenoe of many, who, until this temptation allured them, 
were aooustomed to attend their respective churches. We would suggest 
that the divine blessing oan scarcely be expected to rest upon an enter- 
prise in which the systematic desecration of the Lord's day is openly 
sanctioned. We would protest against the practice, as tending to 
corrupt public morals, as well as dishonour God, and bring the ordinance 
of religion into neglect. We earnestly hope that the expression of these 
our deliberate convictions, and our serious remonstrances may induce 
you to reconsider the propriety of allowing the practice of which we have 
oomplained to continue, and we humbly trust that the unanimous voice 
of those who are bound to watch over the moral and spiritual welfare of 
their parishioners, will have the effect of arresting an evil, which we feel 
satisfied will materially interfere with the best interests of the commu- 

We remain Ac., 

0. J. HO ARE, 
Archdeacon and Prebendary of Winchester, &o." 

This Sunday question was no new thing ; it had been mooted 
by shareholders at previous half-yearly meetings, the Chairman 
then stating, that the board did not feel justified in 
determining to suspend trains on that day. Had the object of 
the memorialists been to elicit a crushing reply, they could not 
have attacked a better man than Mr. Easthope. As a 
journalist and proprietor of the Morning Chronicle, then the 
leading Liberal daily, he was, as the following letter will show, 
quite in his element in inditing an answer to the Hampshire 
divines : — 

" Nine Elms Station, 

July 12th, 1839. 

I have the honour to acknowledge your memorial, addressed to the 
directors of this Company, wherein you express your strong disapproba- 
tion of trains running upon the railway on Sundays. You impute to us 
indifference to the religious condition of our servants, and state that we 
practically prevent their attention to religious duty. You charge us 
with sanctioning the systematic desecration of the Lord's day, and there- 
by exposing ourselves to the displeasure of Heaven, which you suggest 
to be likely to lead to the failure of the enterprise in which we are en. 
gaged. We feel these accusations to be very severe, coming as they do 
from a large number of dignified clergymen, who may be expected to 


mingle charity in the expression of their opinion. We deem your accu- 
sations unjust, and therefore we respectfully invite yon to a reconsider- 
ation of them and we trust that when yon have bestowed on the whole 
subject that fall and careful reflection which may be expected from your 
body, you will then not refuse to retract imputations, which yon mast feel 
to be unfounded. The Company is, by Act of Parliament, compelled to 
ran trains on the railway on Sunday for the convenience of the Post Office 
We view the railroad as a substitute for public highways and therefore 
feel that it would not be just toward the public, or within the discreet 
exercise of our duty, to stop travelling by railway on Sunday, seeing that 
the public conveyances cease to afford the accommodation formerly given- 
It is also manifest that travelling by railroads greatly reduces the animal 
labour formerly employed on the public roads, and consequently reduces 
the quantity of human labour required for conducting the employment of 
horses. It must also be obvious that if any body of proprietors assumed to 
themselves the right of stopping the public and cheap means of travelling 
on the railways now that the other public conveyances have been 
removed, it would subject them to the imputation of obstructing the 
necessary and reasonable movements of those who cannot provide private 
carriages even for purposes of necessity . We further submit to you that 
the whole question of Sunday travelling is one that justly and properly 
belongs to the Legislature of the Kingdom to determine, and ought not to 
depend on the caprice of railway companies. We entreat permission to 
press on your serious reflection the severity and injustice of highly 
influential and dignified portions of the clergy of the land creating 
religious prejudices against individuals engaged in the conduct of 
extensive public establishments, who are desirous of conforming to the 
laws, and anxious to repress, so far as it is within their power, everything 
calculated to injure the general interests of Society. 

I have, etc., 


Chairman of the L. & S.W.R." 

For years nothing more was heard of the Sunday train 

The amount available for dividend to July 31st, 1839, 
was £27,730 5s. 4d. ; on this a dividend of 15s. per share was 
paid, a similar dividend being declared the following half year. 
During the latter period the receipts averaged £2,952 10s. per 

On the morning of May 11th, 1840, the neighbourhood of 
the termini at Nine Elms and Southampton presented a bust- 


ling and animated appearance, flags and banners bearing the 
arms of the Company floated from the various inns and public 
houses, and the entrances of the stations were similarly 
decorated. The object of this display was to signalise the 
opening of the Southampton line throughout. Shortly after 
eight o'clock a body of directors, preceded by bands of music, 
arrived at Nine Elms, and amid the cheers of the bystanders 
steamed away for Southampton, where three hours later their 
train was received by a salute of 21 guns. A corresponding 
up train met with a mishap, the bursting of a tube in the 
boiler, resulting in a delay of an hour and half. On this 
occasion Mr. Brassey gave the " cold collation " at Warren 
Farm near Andover-road station ; he also, in addition to other 
entertainments to his workmen, provided an ox, which was 
roasted whole on his premises at Popham Green. The general 
jollification amongst the Company's servants on this day was 
such as to inspire a portion of the Southampton press with 
apprehension of some terrible disaster, and they describe with 
startling minuteness " the only accidents in consequence," as 
the decapitation of a dog who got in front of a train, and the 
smashing of a pair of gates at Northam in the middle of the 
night by an engine making a passage through them. Beyond 
a display of fireworks, very little enthusiasm was manifest at 
Southampton, the celebration of the event being reserved till 
June 20th, when, after one of those squabbles which appears to 
be inevitable in a town where political feeling enters into the 
transactions of every day life, a grand banquet was arranged. 
The Duke of Sussex and the Directors attended, as did also 
Lord Palmerston and M. Guizot, French Ambassador at 
the Court of St. James. The day was observed as a general 
holiday, dinners were given to the poor, guns were fired, fire- 
works displayed, and the town illuminated. " And thus " 
says an enthusiastic local paper, " was the opening glory of 
Southampton celebrated by her happy and grateful sons." 



Early Superintendence — Primitive Booking Arrangements — The Staff, 
their Uniform and Duties — The Stores, Looomotive and Carriage 
Departments — Passengers, their Grievances — Goods Traffic — 
Signals — Method of Working the Line and Result. 

When, in the spring of 1888, the necessity presented 
itself to the directors of finding a competent staff to take 
possession as soon as Mr. Brassey's rough and ready levies 
had completed a portion of their work, a Mr. Davis, accom- 
panied by a small staff of porters, was induced to leave a 
northern line and undertake the instruction of the employes 
whose experience of railway work had up to that time been 
nil. Upon the commencement of traffic, Mr. Davis became 
superintendent at Nine Elms ; beyond that station his authority 
did not extend, for Mr. Easthope was really the manager of 
the line, although all orders came from Mr. Read, the 
secretary, or Mr. Morgan, his assistant. 

In 1839, upon the recommendation of Mr. Chaplin, Mr. 
Stovin was appointed traffic manager, but still Mr. Easthope 
continued to interfere personally in all departments. He not 
only gave directions concerning the working of traffic, but 
appointed the majority of the employes, nine-tenths of whom, 
it was wickedly said, were " free and independent " voters of 
the Borough of Leicester, for which Mr. Easthope was M.P. 
The engineers' department being interfered with as much as 
any other, Mr. Locke at length rebelled, and threatened to 
leave the concern. After many affrays had taken place 
between him and Mr. Easthope, their differences became a" 
board question. At this time the chairman was not very 
popular with his colleagues ; they recognized in him a clever 
man, possessed of great tact and ability, but so ambitious and 
fond of power was he, that upon their giving way to him, the 


position of chairman was altogether beneath his notice, and he 
assumed that of dictator. Finding himself in a minority he 
resigned in 1840 ; Mr. Garnett taking his place, with Mr. 
Chaplin as vice-chairman. From that date Mr. Stovin's 
authority over the traffic and goods departments became 

Mr. Davis, superintendent of Nine Elms, was an Irishman, 
troubled with a very fiery temper, which led to his receiving a 
request from the board to resign, and accept the less onerous 
duties of agent at Weybridge. His chief booking clerk, Mr. 
Godson, succeeded him, and a short time after, although not 
officially recognized as such, that gentleman really acted as 
superintendent of the whole line under Mr. Stovin's authority. 
Mr. R. Gunnell superintended the country terminus, moving 
on to Winchfield, Basingstoke and Southampton as the line 
became opened. Mr. Tolfrey succeeded him at Woking ; 
Mr. Mears, his chief booking clerk, was installed as agent 
at Winchfield, and his goods and parcels clerk, Mr. Louth, 
took charge of A.ndover Road station. Upon the Gosport 
line opening, Mr. Louth removed to Bishopstoke, while 
Gosport station was under the command of Mr. Watkins, who 
subsequently succeeded Mr. Gunnell at Southampton. Mr. 
Miller, from one of Mr. Chaplin's London offices, followed 
Mr. Tolfrey at Woking, superintending that station and 
Guildford until the appointment of Mr. Stratton to the latter. 

Passengers were booked over an open counter till the 
year 1847, when the authorities, coming to the conclusion that a 
score of impatient individuals all demanding tickets at the 
same time to as many different stations was calculated to 
confuse their clerks, erected partitions, so that only one 
passenger might present himself at a time. The tickets were 
small slips of paper torn from a book containing five slips on 
each leaf. Stamps were provided to impress on each ticket 
the particular station to which a passenger wished to travel, 
also to show the date, and in addition a way-bill was handed 
the guard, giving the number, class and destination of 


passengers from each station. A large bell fixed on the roof 
of the terminal stations was rung for five minutes before the 
departure of each train ; at intermediate stations a small hand 
bell sufficed. 

From the year 1838 to 1841 the guard's uniform 
consisted of a chocolate coloured frock coat with very dark 
trousers; a scarlet coat with silver buttons and lace collar was 
then substituted, to be exchanged six years later for one of 
blue, having a scarlet collar ; blue trousers with two rows of 
scarlet piping down the saam also came into use at that time. 
When this latter alteratibn was made, Mr. P. Laurentz 
Campbell occupied the post of secretary, in succession to Mr. 
Morgan, who, finding the scrip and share business quite 
enough to employ his attention, was appointed treasurer. Mr. 
Campbell came from the Board, of Trade Offices ; he was a 
perfect martinet with regard to uniform, and for a man to be 
literally a button short constituted in his eyes a very serious 
offence. A guard's lot in those days could not be described as a 
happy one ; his seat was fixed on the roof of a first class 
carriage, from which spot he worked his brake — a very rude 
and simple coutrivance, consisting of a shaft or rod underneath 
the carnage, attached to the brake blocks, with a 
connecting rod running up to the guard's seat. In summer 
or in winter, by night and by day, through tunnels and cuttings 
the guard occupied this exposed position ; and it not 
unfrequently happened that in bitter winter weather friendly 
hands were needed to lift this gorgeous but invaluable official 
from the seat to which he had become frozen. 

When the line was first opened, policemen were more 
numerous than any other class of servants ; they acted as 
signalmen and ticket collectors, and until the date of the 
extension to Basingstoke, policemen were stationed along the 
line at certain distances ; they were subsequently taken 
off their beats and sent to various^ stations. Their uniform 
comprised a swallow-tailed chocolate coloured coat, dark 


trousers and tall hat with a leather crown. Porters wore 
fustian jackets, having a badge on the arm, and their caps 
were of the favourite colour — chocolate : in 1841 dark cord 
came into use. 

Agents and clerks received their salaries quarterly, the 
uniform staff being paid weekly at the stations to which they 
were attached, each agent retaining traffic cash for that purpose. 
Some cases coming to light where agents had obtained credit 
for more money *than had really been paid to their men, a 
paymaster (Mr. Ward) was appointed in 1847, an arrangement 
giving great satisfaction to the employes. The year 1848 
saw a provident fund established for the relief of sick or 
disabled servants, the nucleus of which was formed from an 
amount of £250, representing fines inflicted upon officials for 
various offences. Six hundred, out of a staff of six hundred 
and fifty-nine, became members of this society in the first 
year of its existence. 

In 1840, the office of superintendent of stores was 
created ; Mr. Dover being the first to serve in that capacity. 
During his term of office a great fire occurred at Nine Elms, 
when not only were the buildings and a quantity of valuable 
stores consumed, but considerable damage was done to the 
rolling stock. The fire originated in an oil store, to which a 
naked light had been incautiously introduced by the 

Mr. Brassey had entered into a contract to keep the 77 
miles of line from London to Southampton in repair for ten 
years, at the sum of £24,000 a year. He undertook to keep the 
embankments, cuttings, tunnels, rails, and sidings in efficient 
repair and to the satisfaction of Mr. Locke. At first the 
directors were found congratulating themselves upon this 
arrangement, but before Mr. Brassey's contract had expired 
they longed for the time to come when they would be relieved 
from so great an expenditure. 

The original stock of engines and carriages was purchased 
for £21,115; each locomotive costing £1,500; four years 
F • 


later, when the Company owned 49 engines, they could each be 
obtained for £500 less. Nothing but coke was consumed by 
them, and as the price of this article frequently reached £2 
per ton, it proved one of the heaviest items in the working 
expenses ; engine cleaning also became a very costly operation, 
through the absence of sheds for berthing. Mr. Woods was 
the first locomotive superintendent, being succeeded by Mr. 
Gooch, in 1841. The carnage department was presided over 
by Mr. Joseph Beattie, whose first duty upon taking office led 
him to rebuild and furnish with stronger springs all the 
carriages in his care. They had been built in haste by 
inexperienced people, who did not know where to apply the 
strength in a railway carriage, probably from their not having 
built one before ; and as they were constructed on the lines of 
an old stage coach, they had the fatal objection, in common 
with all original rolling stock, of being too light and slight for 
railway work. All carriages were of a chocolate colour, and 
the middle door of each first class was decorated with the 
Company's crest, a dragon's wing being painted on the side 
doors. A first class compartment — there were three in each 
carriage — seated six passengers, and as in addition to being very 
low,they were likewise very narrow, travellers' knees were pressed 
uncomfortably hard against those of their opposite neighbour. 
Much as a first class passenger might grumble at the small 
space allotted him, his fellow traveller in a second class had 
far greater discomfort to complain of; his seat was a bare 
board, his knees in as close proximity to his vis a vis as in the 
superior carriage, and unless provided with a good umbrella 
the chances argued in favour of a wet skin, for all second 
class carriages were open to the weather on either side. First 
class luggage was loaded on the roof, while all belongings of 
second class passengers were deposited in two boots placed 
across their carriage, underneath the seats, and opening from 
the outside. Composite carriages, made up of one first and 
two second class compartments, built expressly for coach 
passengers, carried all their luggage on the roofs, where at each 


end a seat was fixed for the guard or any of the Company's 

For people who had been accustomed to the outside of a 
coach, or the less rapid travelling of a road waggon, no 
covering whatever was deemed necessary, indeed, no provision 
was made for their accommodation until trains ran through 
from London to Southampton, and then they were only 
conveyed by one day goods train in each direction. A frame 
work with seats, fitted on the bed of a carriage truck, consti- 
tuted the vehicle in which third class passengers travelled in 
those days ; the frame work was removed upon the truck being 
required for its ordinary purpose. The composition of these 
goods trains gave a wag of the day an opportunity to 
observe that " in some of the trucks was the swinish 
multitude, in others a multitude of swine. ,, On a wet day 
the condition of poor wretches condemned by poverty to 
travel in such conveyances may be more easily imagined 
than described; if they turned their backs to the storm 
the rain ran down their necks, if they faced it their eyes 
became blinded and their pockets filled with water; an 
umbrella was a useless impediment, and their truck really 
resolved itself into a species of horizontal shower bath from 
whose searching power there was no escape. Add to 
atmospherical disadvantages the tumbling and shaking which 
six hours shunting in a truck with dead buffers will produce, 
and one may conceive the drenched and bruised condition in 
which these miserables arrived at their journey's end. In 1842, 
finding that passengers fought shy of these vehicles, third 
class carriages were attached to the first morning trains, 
"which" said Mr. Chaplin at a half-yearly meeting, "will 
not only give the industrious poor a greater chance of security, 
but also encouragement for early rising.' ' An Act was passed by 
Parliament in 1845, compelling railway companies to run one 
cheap train daily, charging at the rate of one penny per mile, 
and travelling at an average speed of twelve miles an hour for 
the whole journey ; passengers to be provided with seats and 


protected from the weather. Only the latter clause affected 
the arrangements then in force on the South Western, and to 
remedy this carriages were built with two glass lights in each 
roof, but no glass windows at the side or to the doors ; there 
were spaces all along the sides at the top for air, closed by 
curtains. Third class travelling on the South Western was 
then described as the best in England, few companies favouring 
their customers with glass in any part of the vehicle ; in the 
majority of instances too, their seats were very narrow, and, 
apparently with a design to afford a maximum of discomfort, 
were ranged round the carriage sides. 

An enterprising individual hired a train during the 
summer of 1841, running it at low fares with such marvellous 
profit and success, that the Company were not long in 
following up and encouraging this evidently profitable source 
of revenue; thus laying the foundation of modern excursion 

When goods traffic was commenced, all waggons were 
attached to the last passenger trains in the day, but upon open- 
ing to Basingstoke a goods train was run, conducted by three boys 
from fourteen to sixteen years of age. The vagaries of these 
youngsters were hot, however, suffered to continue for any 
length of time, and a man soon took their place. As with 
the passenger, so with the goods guard, he was not provided 
with a brake van, he had, in fact, no brake to work, the 
stopping of his train depending entirely upon the engine 
brake. A vehicle called a Noah's Ark was placed at the 
guard's disposal ; it had two swing doors on one side and a 
sloping roof, and carried small packages for roadside stations. 
Ordinary goods waggons were about twelve feet in length, very 
roughly finished, with dead buffers, and minus side chains and 
springs to the drawbars. In consequence of weak engine 
power some little difficulty was experienced in starting a heavy 
load, especially on an incline. Under such adverse circum- 
stances the guard resorted to the expedient of placing a scotch 
under the last pair of wheels, so that the engine driver might 


pat back to get all his waggon chains slack, and then take it 
with a run. This manoeuvre very often resulted in a portion 
of the train being left behind through chains breaking. 
Equally unsatisfactory were goods traffic receipts, for some 
years falling short of the estimate. This probably arose in 
part from the principle on which such traffic was conducted, the 
Company merely finding waggons and power for those who 
were already engaged in the carrying trade. 

Up to 1840 the only signals provided were flags by day, 
and common horn lanthorns by night. Standard signals were 
then erected, and a revolving light at Nine Elms ; but distant 
signals did not come into use until eight or ten years after. 

In starting one train after another on the same line of 
rails, the only precaution deemed necessary to ensure safety 
was that of keeping a following train until its predecessor was 
" well out of sight.' ' Such a haphazzard system soon pro- 
duced a plentiful crop of accidents. On June 13th, 1840, an 
engine ran into a train at Farnborough, smashing two horse 
boxes and injuring several passengers. On August 15th of 
the same year a goods train left Southampton for London ; 
after going six miles the load was found to be too heavy, and a 
portion was left behind in charge of the guard. He sent a boy 
back to warn the following train, but the 11 o'clock mail, 
consisting of thirty first class carriages propelled by two 
engines, ran into the goods and many passengers were injured. 
An accident also occurred at Vauxhall on October 24th, 1840, 
when a fast ran into a mixed train. It appears that a police- 
man was sent down the line by the station clerk at Wands- 
worth (Mr. Hilditch) to warn the fast train by showing a light. 
After stopping a minute or two, that official thought he had 
been on the spot long enough, and returned to his station. He 
appears to have been somewhat out in his reckoning, for 
before the mixed train reached Vauxhall the fast caught it up. 
One woman was killed. On other lines there ivere even more 
serious results, and a great outcry was naturally raised by the 
public press, who made all sorts of suggestions. One 


James E. McCabe inserted a long and costly advertisement in 
the Times, wherein he states "he feels that it is incumbent 
upon every man, however humble his ideas may be, to give any 
suggestion he may consider likely to prevent accidents." He 
goes on to describe the means which he proposes to adopt, 
viz., have the engine a mile or a mile and a half in advance of 
the train, connected with it by a sufficiently strong rope. " In 
the event of an accident " he observes, " the engineer only 
would be imperilled. ,, Notwithstanding the undoubted 
ingenuity and eminently philanthropic character of Mr. 
McCabe' s device, no record can be discovered of its adoption 
by any British railway. 


f ro W <-*W=^ ttfl up 

■ i ii — — ~— — - _ i i^~ ~~-~ 


Southampton and Portsmouth Grievances — Branch Lines to Guildford, 
Salisbury and Epsom— The Atmospheric— Dividends — A Royal 
Road indeed — " Castleman's Corkscrew. 11 

Before railway communication between London and 
Southampton had been established twelve months, several 
large steamship companies made the latter port a place of 
call, and thus the primary object of the line became fulfilled. 
Southampton also, thanks to representations from influential 
South Western shareholders, was selected as the starting 
point for the West India Mails, and in 1841 the same body 
formed a South Western Steamship Company to ply between 
Southampton and France. Later on endeavours were made to ,. 
obtain an Act, giving the Company power to own or hire such 
a line of steamers, but a Parliamentary Committee considered 
this clause at variance with the Act of Incorporation and struck 
it out. From that time forward the Steamship Company was 
conducted as a separate undertaking, in close connection, 
however, with the railway. Notwithstanding the obvious fact 
that Southampton as a town rapidly rose in importance and 
prosperity, its inhabitants were by no means well pleased with 
their new railway, sighing aloud for a return of the " good old 
coaching days " when travellers were not whisked off by train 
as soon as they landed, but put up at a hotel for a day or two, 
spending their money freely. 

In November, 1841, passenger traffic commenced on the 
Gosport line, but after a few days' trial, Mr, Locke advised a 
suspension, being fearful of the stability of Fareham tunnel, 
which had given him no end of trouble, and cost £15,000 above 
his estimate. On February 7th of the following year traffic 
was resumed. Two years later Portsmouth people began to 


cry out for better accommodation than this line could afford, 
and an extension of the Brighton system was proposed, 
quickly followed by a South Western scheme, via Fareham and 
Cosham, to Portsmouth and Chichester. Then came a direct 
London and Portsmouth Atmospheric, with a counter South 
Western direct line via Guildford and Midhurst. Thus while 
Southampton people were saying their town was ruined 
because of railway facilities, the inhabitants of Portsmouth 
were prepared to prove their ruination from an exactly opposite 
cause. After a protracted inquiry, the Brighton Company's line, 
backed by the military element, who were promptly accused by 
South Western advocates of producing long petitions signed 
by regiments of soldiers, passed through Parliament, the other 
schemes being thrown out. 

The advantages of direct railway communication soon 
began to be recognized in towns indirectly served by the 
South Western, and renewed appeals for assistance were 
'received from Guildford and Salisbury. Application for 
powers to construct a branch from Woking to the former town 
meeting with success, it was made by an independent company, 
and opened on May 5th, 1845, becoming South Western 
property in the same year. A Salisbury line had been 
proposed in 1839, when Mr. Easthorpe, asked at a half- 
yearly meeting what support the directors were prepared to 
give such a branch, said, " The directors felt that when 
they effected the work they had now in hand, they would have 
done a pretty large and very toilsome duty, and, speaking as 
an individual director, beyond what was connected with this 
line, he certainly would never undergo the toil of constructing 
another railway. He did not doubt the directors would give 
every assistance in their power to the continuation of the 
Salisbury line, but for the directors to take upon themselves 
the construction of such a line would be a very bold measure." 
A year later the directors received a deputation who asked for 
co-operation in a branch starting from Hook Pit, between 
Basingstoke and Winchester, to Salisbury. Nothing came of 


it ; but in 1843 the South Western brought in a Bill for a 
single line from Bishopstoke to Salisbury estimated to cost 
£230,000. At the same time a branch to Epsom, surveyed 
in 1842, an extension of the terminus in Nine Elms Lane to 
.Wandsworth Road, and a Bill for converting their share 
capital and loans into transferable stock were also sought. 
The last two clauses became law, but a Croydon and Epsom 
atmospheric railway was preferred to a South Western branch 
from Wimbledon. This atmospheric principle, upheld by Mr. 
Brunei, the Great Western engineer, soon threatened to rival 
the older system. Between the line of rails a large pipe was 
laid, in which a piston was inserted, attached by a shaft to 
the framework of a carriage. The propelling power was the 
ordinary pressure of the atmosphere acting against the piston 
in the tube on one side, a vacuum being created on the other 
by the working of a stationary engine. Mr. Brunei introduced 
it on the South Devon Line, where, after spending £300,000 
in experiments, it was found that the conveyance of one 
hundred pounds worth of passengers cost about £108. This 
discovery sounded the death knell of atmospheric pressure as a 
substitute for locomotive engines. 

In addition to projects materially affecting South Western 
interests, assistance had been requested on behalf of a line 
from Paris to Rouen, of which Mr. Locke became engineer and 
Mr. Ree$ chairman. Mr. Chaplin and many other South 
Western shareholders embarked largely in the scheme, as a 
connecting link between London and Paris via Southampton, 

While these extensions were being projected, traffic 
on the main line rapidly increased, and at the same time the 
directors managed to reduce working expenses to 43 per cent., 
thus enabling them to pay dividends of five and six per 
cent. On one occasion they were accused of paying a dividend 
out of capital. It appears that a sum of £173,605 was due 
upon Gosport shares and upon some new stock, called 
" tenths," but in order that the produce of the daily traffic 
might not be idle, it was applied to the purposes q! capital, so 


that they might keep off to the latest possible period the calls 
which otherwise must have been made earlier. The money 
applicable to the purposes of a dividend, namely, the net 
earnings of the line, were thus applied to the purposes of the 
call, and out of the call the dividend was subsequently paid. 
It so happened that but for this unauthorized method of 
procedure, a sum of £90,000 would have been lost through the 
bankruptcy of the company's bankers, Messrs. Wright ; and no 
dividend whatever could then have been paid. As it was 
£3,538 were lost in the ruin of that establishment. 

The year 1843 saw Her Majesty the Queen a passenger 

on the South Western, and on the same occasion the Duke of 

Wellington, who was strongly prejudiced against all railways, 

performed his first trip in attendance upon Her Majesty. 

Prior to this the Duke used his own coach when travelling 

between London and Strathfieldsaye, bis place in Hampshire, 

although South Western directors had informed him that a 

special train was always at his command. In speaking of 

this occurrence at a shareholders' meeting, the Chairman said, 

" We have recently been deemed worthy of the patronage of 

royalty, and I am proud to say that both Her Majesty and the 

•noble Duke of Wellington expressed themselves highly pleased 

with our mode of conveyance. I think we may, from all 

accounts, anticipate that Her Majesty will almost include in 

her domestic arrangements one of our stations." Since that 

time Her Majesty has indeed included the South Western in 

her " domestic arrangements," honouring it more, perhaps, 

than any other railway in the kingdom. Her Majesty's sons 

too, the Dukes of Connaught and Albany, reside on this line, 

and few, if any, royal visitors to English shores return to their 

native country before admiring from the windows of a state 

coach the varied beauty of the scenery through which it runs. 

As no line is more favoured by royalty than the South 

Western, its claim to the title of A Royal Road may be 

considered as beyond doubt. 

Soon the Company came to loggerheads, for a second time, 


with the Great Western. It really began in 1843 when an inde- 
pendent company projected a line from Basingstoke to Newbury, 
which was to be worked by the Southwestern. Their Bill passed 
the House of Commons, but a Committee of the Lords threw 
it out. Newbury was looked upon by the Great Western as 
their territory, and the following year found their surveyors on 
the hills of Dorchester and Weymouth and upwards to Bath. 
This roused Mr. Chaplin to wrath ; "It is our legitimate 
country," he said, " it is in our traffic tables, and I think their 
(the Great Western) going so far out of their way as Bristol 
towards Exeter, must have told us that they did consider it 
was ours and that it was for us to occupy it." At the same 
time a coast or forest line, irreverently termed " Castleman's 
Corkscrew," from Mr. Castleman, its chief advocate, was 
proposed from Southampton to Dorchester. The South 
Western board were rather inclined to favour this scheme, but 
its promoters took such high ground, insisting that the 
Company should " never henceforth project a single inch of 
railway to the west of Salisbury," that no alternative was left 
but an opposing scheme from Salisbury to Dorchester and 
Weymouth, and another from Salisbury to Yeovil. Lines 
from Basingstoke to Newbury, Didcot, and Swindon were 
also projected. These proposals were of course stigmatised by 
the Great Western as aggressive, while Mr. Chaplin, who 
had succeeded Mr. Garnett in the chair, went back some 
centuries for his title to the western road. "About 180 years 
after Christ the Romans found a way through, and laid 
it down for us, therefore I think " he told the shareholders 
" that is going far enough back to define a title for a line of 
country which will exclude us altogether from the epithet of 
aggressors." A few days after Mr. Chaplin had refused to 
recognize Mr. Castleman's right to dictate terms to the South 
Western, an announcement was made that the Great Western 
had undertaken to work the " Corkscrew" or " Water Snake,' f 
as one individual derisively called it. At this time the Board 
of Trade was all powerful, and railway promoters had to obtain 

the approval of that tribunal before taking their Bills to 
Parliament. The Coast line and the Great Western Company's 
Wilts and Somerset scheme obtained favour, whilst South- 
western plans were rejected ; bat a sop was thrown to the 
latter by refusing sanction to the working agreement between 
Mr. Castleman and the Great Western. An " amicable 
arrangement " was then come to with the latter company, and 
by suggestion of the Board of Trade a lease in perpetuity of 
the Southampton and Dorchester line, at £20,000 a year and 
half the surplus profits, was taken by the South Western. 
Groat opposition was offered to this scheme by the Woods and 
Forests Commissioners and it was not allowed to ran through 
any wooded portion of the New Forest. 


The Mania. 

A great uprising in the railway world was imminent and 
the original ideas of railway men that nothing more was to be 
done than lay down a line and all the traffic within fifty miles 
would be drawn upon it, was exchanged for a theory that " every 
village ought to have its railway and every village should have 
its railway." On the stock exchange, where railway shares had 
hitherto met with comparative neglect, excitement set in, soon 
to be worked into a mania. Throughout the year 1845 
surveyors were overrunning the country in all directions, their 
services being in such request that soma of them were paid at 
the rate of fifteen guineas a day. They lived like lords at 
country hotels and played practical jokes upon all and sundry* 
Occasionally through opposition on the part of a landowner 
their work had to be carried on at night, and a tale went the 
rounds that an old gentleman who objected to have his land 
surveyed, shot at them from his bedroom window. He was 
rewarded by hearing a heavy fall, which upon inspection proved 
to be a theodolite. Morning brought him a polite note to the 
effect that he was welcome to the instrument " to see how far 
it is into the middle of next week." Engineers, lawyers and 
newspaper proprietors also reaped a rich harvest, and it was 
stated that an eminent Q.G., was offered a thousand guineas 
for a speech, and that his clerk's fees in one session exceeded 
£3,000. Two newspapers had on one day, two special trains, 
one from Liverpool, the other from Dover to London, entailing 
a cost of at least £50, for the sole purpose of obtaining a few 
hours izt priority of intelligence. Tradesmen left their 
counters and merchants their offices to gamble in scrip with 


other speculators in the open street. People no longer asked 
"How's your family; " that query was exchanged for "How's 
your railway." The vagabonds of society were let loose, 
knavery reigned supreme ; nor was excitement confined to any 
particular class, dignified clergymen being described in 
exchange parlance, as " bulls/' while titled ladies figured as 
"stags." As the mania spread, stock markets were opened 
in provincial towns, where, as in London, vast concourses of 
men bought and sold in a state of such furious excitement, 
that a betting ring at our largest race meeting fails to supply 
its parallel. Throughout November newspapers appeared with 
" Supplement No. 1, Supplement No. 2, Supplement No. 8," 
and last, though by no means least a " Supplementary Supple- 
ment " filled with railway prospectuses at fifty guineas a column. 
There was the "Brighton and Cheltenham Direct," the 
"London and Holyhead Direct," the "Grand London and 
Dublin Approximation Railway," the "Bristol, Bath, and 
Dover Direct," the "Manchester and Southampton," and 
hosts of smaller " Directs " and " Grands " with their oppo- 
nents, for each line had its rival, one line only being good till 
its adversary appeared. It was subsequently discovered that 
the promoters of one line were not unfrequently advocates of 
its opponent. As November 30th, the day on which plans 
were to be lodged with the Board of Trade, drew near, extra 
pressure was put on ; solicitors and engineers had no bed for 
a fortnight ; lithographers were equally busy, one eminent firm 
bringing nearly four hundred lithographers from Belgium, and 
failed nevertheless with this reinforcement in completing their 
work. November 30th fell on a Sunday, and throughout the 
day special trains bearing solicitors with their plans steamed 
into London from all quarters. Where express trains were 
not available, post horses were in readiness in all parts of the 
kingdom. Tales were told of post boys being bribed, and in 
one case an attorney found that at 9 p.m. he was progressing 
only at the rate of four miles an hour. Neither threats nor 
pursuasion had any effect upon the post boys. Finding 


entreaties unavailing, the attorney leaped from the carriage, 
unfastened the traces and thrashed the post boys till they 
roared for mercy. He then resumed his seat and completed 
his journey at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. Special trains 
were refused to parties promoting lines in opposition to existing 
railways, the South Western for instance, refusing the 
Manchester and Southampton. In the north of England, 
where a solicitor had been met by refusal, a hearse was 
procured, plans, sections, and clerk placed inside and a special 
train ordered to take it to London. Throughout the evening 
and up till midnight Whitehall was blocked by cabs containing 
anxious promote with their rolls of parchment, some even 
then arriving too late. Of 1263 projects — three-fourths arrant 
bubbles — which had but a week or two before been flaring 
away with traffic tables and big promises of dividends in 
prospect, only 775, many of them at the last gasp, managed 
to lodge their plans in time. Upon these schemes coming 
before Parliament in the session of 1846, the country was 
ransacked for witnesses — landowners, farmers, millers, and 
tradesmen, to go to London, live on the fat of the land at the 
best hotels, and give evidence in favour of or against Bills. The 
result showed that committees decided without discrimination, 
and a regular scramble for Bills took place, or to quote 
Mr. Chaplin, "it was a perfect lottery," where the most 
unscrupulous were the most successful. As time went on weak 
points began to disclose themselves. Shareholders were found 
to be men of straw who could not meet their calls ; a notorious 
example being introduced to the House of Commons by the 
Marquis of Clanricarde, where one Charles Guernsey, the son 
of a charwoman, and a junior clerk in a broker's office at 12s. 
per week, had his name down as a subscriber for £52,000 
worth of shares. He had doubtless been made a tool of for the 
purpose by the brokers, his employers. The utter rottenness 
of these bubble schemes soon became apparent. Poor dupes 
took alarm, their scrip — their fancied wealth, became worth- 
less ; embarrassment, or irretrievable ruin stared them in the 



face, and a panic equalled only by the fiiry of its forerunner — 
the mania, ensued. Of those who were drawn into the 
speculating vortex, few escaped, and the year 1847 was a dark 
one for many a home in old England. 

An investigation of these precious schemes laid bare a 
state of wholesale speculation, bribery and fraud unexampled 
before or since. In some cases no books whatever were kept, 
and, as a rule, the lawyers were found to have been guilty of 
the most disreputable practices. A bill submitted by one of 
these worthies, and made public, is certainly a curiosity in its 
way. The following are a few of his charges : — " To 18 
clerks, referencing, exclusive of travelling expenses, £1,064 ; 
to copying reference books, £420; to examining the same, 
£56 14s. ; to self and three clerks engaged one day and one 
night assisting engineer, November 28th, £29 6s. 8d. ; to 
ditto, November 29th, £29 6s. 8d.; to about 12 days' 
attendance on different promoters, £52 10s. ; to ditto, 10 days, 
£50 10s. ; to journey, 18 days, exclusive of expenses, £94 10s" 
This last item was often repeated, and the lawyer claimed from 
his clients (the Exeter, Dorchester and Weymouth Junction 
Coast Railway) altogether £5,000. 

The central figure around whom all this madness raged 
was one George Hudson, a man reared behind a New York 
counter, who was left money by some relative or another, and 
speculated successfully in railway shares. He accumulated 
vast wealth, bought estates from dukes and lords, and found 
admission into the House of Commons as M.P. for Sunderland, 
When the fever was at its height the " railway king " was a 
king indeed ; duchesses petted him, noble lords shook him 
heartily by the hand, his admirers subscribed £20,000 for a 
statute to be erected in his honour, and, save in the House, 
Cabinet Ministers were forced to take a back seat in his 
presence. When attacked in the House of Commons, he said 
in the course of his defence, " I have known what it is to live 
in popularity and favour and to enjoy the confidence and 
smiles of the world. I have known the bitter reverse. I bear 


against it, I hope, with the fortitude with which it is right for 
a man to bear it who is conscious of his own innocence. I am 
ready to unravel and unfold everything." His pleadings fell 
upon unwilling ears. The evil results of his reign were too 
widespread for sympathy to reach him. His kingdom was 
swept away, the crown fell from his brow, his ill-gotten gains 
were wrested from him, and George Hudson, upon whose 
"yea " or " nay " fortunes once hung, died at last in abject 


A Spirited Policy — London and Suburban Extensions — Portsmouth 
Schemes — From Salisbury to the Land's End — Broad versus 
Narrow Guage. 

Of the many South Western schemes promoted during 
the mania, by far the greater number were projected in order 
to preserve their territory from attacks by speculators and rival 
companies, with whom it became a favourite battle-field. 
The directors acted very cautiously until the year 1846, when, 
yielding to the taunts of shareholders, they abandoned their 
" sluggish policy " for one more in unison with the spirit of 
the times. This change was received by the shareholders 
with acclamation, and at a meeting held in November of the 
year named, they authorised the directors to embark in 
extensions involving nearly 7J millions of money. Their 
applications to Parliament were generally successful, whilst 
with the public the line was popular, consequent upon a 
reduction of rates and fares to a figure unheard of before* 
This pleasing state of affairs, added to a good dividend, was 
quite enough to justify the directors in closing a half-yearly 
report with the following paragraph : — " The directors feel 
called upon, after a mature review, and consideration of all 
the circumstances affecting the present position and future 
prospects of the South Western Company, to express a very 
decided opinion that its affairs were never at any former 
period in a condition so promising ; and they feel confident 
that time, and perseverance in the course which the proprie- 
tors have commenced with so much spirit, are alone necessary 
to prove the correctness of this opinion. ,, A few months later 
the crash came, transforming their self-satisfaction into a 
feeling of intense anxiety, and compelling a speedy abandon- 


ment of that course which they had " commenced with so much 

The numerous lines proposed may, with the exception 
of one or two minor branches, be divided into three 
divisions, viz. : — those affecting the London and suburban 
district, the Portsmouth lines, and those projected from 
Basingstoke westward. The most important railway near 
London to which those days of excitement gave birth, was one 
designed in 1844, when no less than four distinct applications 
were made to the South Western directors for support in 
making a line from Richmond to Nine Elms, and thence 
onward to Waterloo Bridge. Richmond, then as now, was a 
favourite haunt of Londoners, and its traffic by road was 
sufficient to keep 98 omnibuses going daily. Before a bill 
was presented to Parliament, the South Western adopted that 
portion of the scheme from Nine Elms to Waterloo Bridge, 
and took a lease of the remainder. In Parliament much 
opposition was met with, but after a protracted inquiry the 
committee, who had gone over the route from Nine Elms to 
Waterloo, passed the Bill and it received Royal assent in 
1845. An extension from Richmond to Staines and Windsor 
next appeared, promoted by an independent company, but so 
great was the opposition in the district, that not until the 
utmost excitement prevailed, could the necessary support be 
obtained ; then a loop line from Barnes through Hounslow, 
and branches to Egham, Wokingham, Chertsey, and Farn- 
borough were added. Mr. Locke's estimate of the cost of 
these combined schemes was £1,000,000, of which two-thirds 
were to be found by the South Western. This was not the 
first attempt made by South Western directors to reach 
Windsor, a line from Weybridge through Chertsey to the 
Royal Borough, having been proposed in 1844, in opposition 
to a Great Western scheme by way of West Drayton and 
Staines. These Bills were passed in 1847, and notice of a 
further extension to Slough given, but ijhe latter was by 


arrangement abandoned, the Great Western making a branch 
from Slough to Windsor, and the South Western obtaining per- 
mission to cross the Park and build a station in Windsor, a 
privilege till then denied them. 

On July 25th, 1846, twelve months after Parliamentary 
sanction had been given, the Richmond railway was publicly 
opened, becoming South Western property in the same year. 
Its construction cost only £170,000, the original estimate 
being £260,000, thus furnishing another proof of the 
economical way in which Mr. Locke executed his work. On 
the day of opening a train of sixteen carriages conveyed the 
directors and their friends from Nine Elms to Richmond, 
receiving a hearty welcome all along the line of route, and 
culminating in a great demonstration at Richmond. A brass 
band played the National Anthem as the train ran into the 
station, a small park of artillery fired salutes from the beau- 
tiful ait below the bridge, the Lord Mayor, accompanied by a 
numerous party, came up in his barge, and a dinner, followed 
by a ball, was given at the Castle Hotel to about 800 ladies 
and gentlemen. The traffic exceeded the directors' most 
sanguine expectations, upwards of 100,000 passengers using it 
within two months after its opening. 

Shortly after the Waterloo Bridge extension had been 
passed, a further advance into the Metropolis was decided 
upon, and a line to London Bridge was accordingly sought, 
and obtained in the year 1846. At the same time branches 
to Hampton Court ; Chertsey from Weybridge ; and Farnham 
and Alton via Guildford, were passed, whilst an unsuccessful 
attempt to reach Epsom was made for a second, or rather 
third time, a scheme having been abandoned in 1844, in 
deference to the opinion of the Board of Trade. The South 
Western also proposed a branch to Watford, to open up a 
direct north and south communication, but this project never 
reached Parliament. 

Upon the outbreak of the mania, the Direct Portsmouth 


Atmospheric scheme, being a continuation of the Croydon rail- 
way, was revived, compelling a rival Guildford, Chichester and 
Portsmouth Company, with branches to Petersfield and Ports- 
mouth Dockyard, to be started by the South Western. An 
arrangement was at the same time made with the Brighton 
Company, who were then on bad terms with the Croydon 
line, to become half owners of their Chichester and 
Portsmouth extension, passed in the previous session. Only 
those small portions of the South Western scheme between 
Guildford and Godalming, and between Portsmouth and Fare- 
ham were sanctioned by Parliament, their rivals obtaining all 
they asked. Meanwhile the Brighton Company made peace 
and effected a union with the Croydon Company, who " had 
a tail in the Direct Portsmouth line." This amalgamation 
lead to a breach in the good relations till then existing between 
the South Western and Brighton Companies, affecting, as it 
did, an agreement of " mutual protection " entered into early 
in 1845. At that date the South Western had purchased an 
iron tramway, running from Wandsworth to Croydon, intend- 
ing, by its agency, to effect a junction with the Croydon and 
Brighton lines ; this tramway they sold to the latter company, 
and agreed to give them running powers from Wandsworth to 
Nine Elms and Waterloo. A further agreement executed to 
defeat their common enemy, the Atmospheric, provided that 
a Guildford and Chichester railway was to be promoted by the 
South Western, and supported by the Brighton, the former 
undertaking not to promote, or sanction any line east of the pro- 
posed railway, except an Epsom branch ; while on the other 
hand the Brighton agreed not to make, or aid in making, any line 
west of their railway, except a line to Horsham, or any branch 
not exceeding ten miles. When the Brighton became con- 
nected, through the Croydon line, with the Atmospheric 
scheme, they found this agreement hamper their action with 
regard to an amalgamation. All sorts of difficulties and com- 
plaints were started in consequence, and among other things 
it was argued that the London Bridge extension was a breach 


of the agreement, being east of the South Western line. 
They also demanded the insertion of a clause in a Bill, then 
about to be introduced, to fix the toll which would be payable 
by them from Wandsworth to Waterloo, and to give them by 
statute law rights in the Waterloo Station. This the South 
Western refused to sanction, and a break up of the joint com- 
mittee, which had been sitting for weeks to regulate matters 
connected with the Chichester and Portsmouth extension, 
followed. Notices were then given by the South > Western 
of application to Parliament for another line to Portsmouth, a 
manoeuvre which brought the Brighton round, and they agreed 
to an equal ownership of the Atmospheric line by the two 
companies, and " a general co-operation by them for supplying 
the public wants throughout the country intermediate between 
their respective trunk lines. ,, Such was the position of affairs 
when the panic came and scattered their well laid schemes to 
the wind. 

Although a Great Western broad guage line from 
Beading to Basingstoke had, in accordance with the absurd 
ideas of the Board of Trade, been granted, the South Western 
directors did not give up entirely an idea of providing direct and 
unbroken communication between the Midland and Northern 
districts and the Southern coast. They fully recognised, they 
said, the importance of forming a junction with the lines 
centreing at Oxford " in conformity with the views of the 
Government, " but were deterred from action by the vast 
amount of works which it appeared to them absolutely 
necessary that the Company should promote or assist in 
Parliament. In the meanwhile several schemes for effecting 
somewhat similar objects were started, a Manchester and 
Southampton line among the number. To keep out this, a 
branch from Romsey to Redbridge was proposed, but 
Parliament rejected it, and the Manchester line was 
subsequently thrown out by the Lords. The next session saw 
two Manchester and Southampton Bills presented. Against 


these the South Western asked for power to purchase the 
Andover and Redbridge Canal and convert it into a railway. 
Parliament granted their request and arrangements were then 
made to give the Manchester and Southampton promoters 
running powers over it, in the event of their obtaining an Act 
in the following session. But alas ! in 1848 no one could be 
found possessed of sufficient assurance to mention, much less 
present, such a Bill in Parliament. 

Among the minor measures promoted successfully were 
branches to Lymington and Weymouth from the Dorset Line. 
The last named had met with great opposition at the 
hands of Southampton people, who applied for injunction after 
injunction to restrain the Company from carrying the line 
through their town. They appeared to labour under the delusion 
that a terminus at Southampton West would be of greater benefit 
to them than a junction, as passengers would, in the former 
case, be compelled to walk or drive from one station to another 
to the advantage of carriage proprietors and tradesmen 
generally. Selfish interests were not, however, allowed to 
stand in the way of public convenience, and on June 7th, 1847, 
the Dorchester line was opened. Trains had been advertised 
to commence running over it a week before, but the 
Southampton tunnel — as though in league with local hostility 
— fell in, thus causing a week's delay. Beyond a banquet at 
Ringwood, under the presidency of Mr. Castleman, who had 
stuck to his " Corkscrew " despite bad report, ridicule and 
abuse, there was no public demonstration. 

The " adventurous spirit of the times " soon put an end 
to all arrangements respecting a division of territory west of 
Basingstoke, and an obstinate and costly struggle commenced 
between the South Western and Great Western Companies. 
Impressed by " the great importance of saving distance 
between Salisbury and London, and the conviction that the 
line must become hereafter one of no ordinary traffic," the 
former Company projected a railway from Basingstoke to 


Salisbury in 1844, three years before thai via Bishopstoke was 
opened. To this their rivals objected, bat upon appeal to the 
Board of Trade a Bill was allowed to be presented. Then the 
Great Western in violation, Mr. Chaplin said, of their 
agreement, proposed an Exeter extension. The extensive 
powers of the Board of Trade were now upon the wane, and 
their idiotic awards, which had caused useless expense and 
inconvenience to the public at large, gave rise to a formidable 
agitation. It was urged that although chiefs of the 
Department might be blameless, yet their decisions were 
coloured by opinions of permanent officials, who probably had 
some interest in the points at issue, Finally Sir Robert Feel 
unexpectedly withdrew his powerful support, and thus pressed 
on all sides, the much abused Board was overthrown. In 
the unavoidable absence of support from that quarter, nothing, 
according to the South Western Chairman, remained but " to 
occupy in a spirited manner the whole district unprovided 
with railway facilities. ,, Mr. Chaplin further observed, " we 
have already got a line to Salisbury, and on what principle we 
are to be shut out of the remaining district to Exeter, it is hard 
to conceive." Independent companies, supported by the South 
Western, who agreed to provide one-fourth of the necessary 
capital, accordingly promoted lines from Salisbury to Yeovil, 
and from Exeter to Yeovil and Dorchester. A " Devon and 
Cornwall Central Railway,' ' with whom the South Western 
had been in communication two years before, was also 
included in this arrangement. The latter project comprised 
lines from Exeter to Falmouth and Penzance, with branches to 
Bodmin and St. Austell. These comprehensive schemes 
roused the whole West to enthusiasm. Immense petitions 
were signed, and large meettings held in support of the 
" Great Trunk Line. ,, At a meeting convened by the 
Mayor of Exeter, upon the requisition of 4000 householders, it 
was stated that a petition bearing the signatures of 50,000 
Cornishmen would be presented to Parliament. The famous 
" battle of the guages " had just commenced ; it may almost 


be said the West saw a first clash of arms between the rival 
plans, which, after raging for months in the form of a 
pamphlet war, was continued before a Parliamentary 
Commission. By that body Mr. Brunei and his allies were 
quickly overthrown. Upon the respective merits of the gauges 
there was naturally much discussion in the district. Yeovil 
people objected to a branch line, and, in consequence, advocated 
the broad gauge. It was in this town that an orator loftily 
declared " he stood on the broad gauge of truth and public 
good, and could not be opposed but on the narrow gauge of 
selfishness and interest/ ' 

In Parliament the Cornwall scheme was rejected for 
non-compliance with standing orders, but the Salisbury, 
Yeovil and Exeter group was referred to a Select Committee, 
of which Mr. Becket Denison was chairman. Mr., subsequently 
Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, appeared as counsel for the 
narrow gauge, and, on behalf of his clients, refused a 
compromise thrown out by the chairman, that the proposed 
line from Yeovil to Exeter might be constructed for both 
broad and narrow gauge. The Great Western scheme was at 
length thrown out and the narrow gauge passed, but in the 
Lords a committee declared that, although railway 
communication was greatly needed in the district, they did not 
consider it expedient to pass the Bills as they were then 

Upon their defeat both interests immediately proceeded 
to frame more formidable and comprehensive schemes for 
presentation to Parliament in the Session of 1847. The 
South Western adopted the Salisbury and Yeovil project, to 
which they added branches to Shaftesbury, and Wincanton, 
with a cross country line from Wimborne, through Blandford, 
Sturminster, and Wincanton, to Bruton. The Exeter Yeovil 
and Dorchester Company, assisted as before by the South 
Western, also added branches to Sidmouth and Lyme Regis. 
An Exmouth branch, aided by a South Western subscription, 
had been passed in the previous session. West of Exeter 



even more extensive lines were proposed, and these were 
undertaken solely by the Company, the original promoters 
retiring in their favour. The direct line to Truro was 
shortened and improved; branches were thrown out to 
St. Austell, St. Columb, Padstow and Plymouth, and from 
Okehampton to the Taw Vale — now North Devon — Railway. 
The Bodmin and Wadebridge line was purchased, shares were 
taken in a scheme then on foot for improving Sutton 
Pool Harbour (Plymouth) ; an agreement was made with the 
Taw Vale Company to find one-fourth of their capital, and 
to take a perpetual lease of their railway and works. Mr. 
Locke's energy and engineering skill were employed on these 
extensive schemes, not only in his official capacity, but as one 
of the principal promoters. He was rewarded by the people 
of Honiton, who elected him as their parliamentary represent- 
ative. At the same time Mr. Chaplin took his seat for 
Salisbury, to which town the branch from Bishopstoke was 
opened on March 22nd, 1847. 

The struggle in Parliament completely put that of the 
previous session into the shade, so numerous were the 
witnesses produced, and so regardless of expense were the 
contending forces. For a Bill to pass the ordeal of Standing 
Orders was no easy matter, and it sometimes happened that a 
comma turned upside down, or a letter misplaced was 
sufficient to condemn a whole scheme. The Cornwall lines 
were again subject to a scrutiny of this kind, and in addition 
several influential memorials were presented against them. 
By mutual consent these were referred to the examination of 
independent engineers, who conducted an inquiry on the 
ground. Their decision was adverse to the scheme, which 
was thus prevented from consideration by Parliament on its 
merits. For this the South Western took revenge by opposing, 
successfully, the rival plans, and so keeping the district open. 

East of Exeter they fared better, but it was a long and 
obstinate struggle before the House of Commons committee. 
Each point being vigorously contested, a month was occupied 


in discussing the narrow gauge schemes alone, and when the 
Great Western case was finished the committee had completed 
their fiftieth sitting. Mr. Cockburn took three days to reply, 
and then a decision in favour of the South Western was 

At Salisbury, pealing of bells and firing of cannon 
announced the broad gauge defeat, and from that city to 
Exeter great joy was manifest at the result. Final victory 
was, however, to be again delayed. A ministerial crisis 
appeared : Parliament was dissolved : the unlucky Bill could 
not be sent to the House of Lords, and it again fell through. 


A Bad Tine— Quarrelsome Shareholders — The Waterloo and other 
Extensions Opened — The Chairman on the Defensive— Aban- 
doned Spoils. 

After the storm came a calm ! After the mania came a 
re-action ! Shareholders no longer jeered at directors' " sluggish 
policy " or urged them to provide every village with a railway : 
on the contrary they raised a cry of " close the capital 
account," and tried their hardest to withold even profitable 
expenditure. Commercial confidence had been shaken to its 
very foundation by the panic, and the threatening aspect of 
affairs at home and abroad served to intensify the prevailing 
uneasiness. There were troubles in India and Ireland. In 
Paris there was a revolution. The Pope fled from Home. 
There was a tumult in London, and general distress prevailed 
in the provinces. That " mysterious, but universal sickness 
of a single root/' which Lord Beaconsfield tells us in 
Endymion " changed the history of the world " — the potato 
disease — appeared, and to crown it all, the government 
deemed additional taxation absolutely necessary. To those 
entrusted with the management of extensive lines of railway 
it was a time of great and well nigh overwhelming 

In the session of 1848 South Western measures were 
limited to the smallest compass, only those Bills postponed on 
account of the dissolution — which after a victory so costly, 
but so complete, they could not well throw over — were 
re-introduced. Parliament had ordered that companies should 
prove their ability to proceed with lines before submitting a 
Bill to the House. Mr. Chaplin had one or two interviews 
with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and a meeting of 


shareholders was held to confirm the directors' proposals, 
which were to apply again for the Salisbury and Exeter lines 
and the Blandford branch. These projects were not carried 
unanimously, a small band of opponents led by Mr. Alexander 
Hoyes, a shrewd business man, and Mr. Puncher, whose 
name fitted him like a glove, voting against them. In 
moving an amendment Mr. Hoyes declared that the directors 
crammed the western extension down the shareholders' throats, 
and the only results were the election of Mr. Chaplin as M.P. 
for Salisbury, and Mr. Locke as M.P. for Honiton. Permission 
having been obtained to proceed with the schemes, a very 
influential meeting was held at Shaftesbury, every landowner 
of note, with one exception, attending, Mr. Chaplin and 
Mr, Locke appearing on behalf of the South Western. Their 
opponents appeared to be disheartened, for no effort was made 
to stop the Bills in the Commons. Some resistance was 
anticipated in the last stage, but after an inquiry of five days 
their lordships came to a favourable decision and the 
Salisbury and Yeovil, and Exeter and Yeovil Bills received 
Royal assent on July 22nd, 1848. At the same time Acts for 
amalgamating the Dorset line with the South Western, and 
authorizing the latter to work steam boats for fourteen years 
between Southampton and France and the Channel Islands 
were passed. 

As the monetary pressure and general distress exhibited 
no signs of improvement, the directors pledged themselves to 
suspend operations on the London Bridge extension, the 
Andover and Southampton, and Dorsetshire branches, and to 
make no call for Western lines till the following year. 
Meanwhile several important lines were opened for traffic, the 
Waterloo extension on July 11th among the number. This 
line cost about £900,000. " We have placed on the railway " 
the chairman stated, " between Nine Elms and Waterloo four 
distinct lines of rails, in order that we mav have no trouble or 
inconvenience in future in the traffic ; and also, that whatever 
may be the adventurous schemes of the age in future, whatever 


may be the probability of introducing lines South of London, 
we may not only have ample means of conducting our traffic, 
be it what it may, but of ability to let others come and hire, 
that we may benefit by their enterprise and industry on our 
property.' ' The Waterloo station was built upon ground 
formerly occupied by hay stalls and cow yards and by dung 
heaps and similar nuisances. 

On February 14th the Weybridge and Chertsey line was 
opened : on August 22nd a train service commenced between 
Richmond and Datchet: on September 1st the line from 
Fareham to Gosham was brought into use, and a month later 
saw trains running direct to Portsmouth. 

In 1849 other branches were completed : passengers on 
pleasure bent being first conveyed to Hampton Court in 
February of that year. For some time no engines were used 
upon that branch, and the trains were hauled to and from the 
junction by horses. On August 22nd the loop line from 
Barnes to Smallberry Green was brought into use ; that portion 
from Smallberry Green to Hounslow being opened on February 
1st, 1850. In October, Godalming, and the hop growing 
district of Farnham first heard the railway whistle. On 
December 1st Windsor station was opened. 

Mr. Chaplin had anything but a pleasant duty to perform 
in presiding over the general meeting of shareholders, held on 
August 18th, 1849. He had to tell of a dividend reduced 
from 9 to 3J per cent., caused by £2,814,038 worth of 
additional stock, raised during the mania, participating for the 
first time in a dividend. The shareholders were consequently 
in no amiable mood, although their chairman announced a 
general reduction in salaries and wages throughout the entire 
establishment, and informed them that the directors would 
take nothing for their services. There had been a great 
uproar at the previous meeting upon a proposal to lease the 
South Western steam boats at 5 per cent, upon the share 
capital of that company. The directors were upheld at a poll 
demanded upon the question, but Mr. Puncher and other 


kindred spirits were by no means pleased, and embraced the 
first opportunity to continue a disturbance. They wanted to 
blame someone for their poor dividend, and commenced an 
experiment on the chairman. How much of a certain 7 per 
cent, preference stock did he hold ? they asked, and when a 
satisfactory answer came to that question, Mr. Puncher 
favoured his brother proprietors with a few observations. 
There was the "pass system which directors' friends found so 
convenient." " Oh ! nonsense," interrupted Mr. Chaplin, " the 
directors have no friends." Then Mr. Puncher was not 
satisfied with the reduction of wages. There were too many 
servants employed, and too many carriages running in each 
train. He had been down to Farnham and seen "a long 
train with only one passenger to go by it — a fat old lady, who 
enjoyed the luxury of having five porters to assist her into the 
carriage." The meeting over, rumours were circulated that 
Mr. Chaplin's connection with the carrying firm of Chaplin & 
Home was incompatible with his position as chairman : that 
he held more than his share of 7 per cent, preference stock, 
and that he had not paid up his calls. All this, despite the 
fact that auditors (Mr. Hoyes of Bitterne Grove, Southampton, 
and Mr. Close of Nottingham) had been appointed in the 
previous year. Mr. Chaplin issued an address defending 
himself against these charges of " dishonest and corrupt 
conduct." He traced his connection with the Company's affairs 
from the first, stating the capital — about a quarter of a million — 
held by him in the undertaking and projects connected with it, 
and said that if, instead of quarrelling among themselves and 
making charges or casting imputations, which had no 
justification in fact or fairness, they devoted themselves to the 
careful working and development of their property there was 
yet prosperity in store for them. During the trying years of 
1847-8 he had lent the Company £48,000, at 8 J per cent., 
and had paid for new shares to the amount of £108,000, 
taking only his proper proportion. It was true that some 
calls had not been met, caused by his inability to realize, 


without inordinate sacrifice, £40,000 worth of stock in the 
Paris and Rouen railway, then much depressed by the 
revolution in Paris. A special general meeting of the 
proprietors was called, and Mr. Chaplin moved the appoint- 
ment of a committee " to investigate the charges and 
statements made against the integrity of the directors." The 
committee reported that they found much te blame and 
regret, and that wrong as many transactions decidedly were, 
Mr. Chaplin made the interests and prosperity or* the 
Company his first object, and from a long and constant 
connection, considered his own affairs identified with those of 
the South Western. The Chairman wall again elected 
without a dissentient voice, and the Earl of Morley and Mr. 
Ker-Seymer, who had vacated their seats, were requested to 
continue their services. 

While this squabble was proceeding the parliamentary 
powers obtained at so much cost and energy, and over which 
shareholders had rejoiced, grumbled and finally quarrelled, 
were fast expiring. The directors called a meeting to decide 
upon a course of action, when so marked was the opposition 
to a creation of further liabilities, and so obvious the utter 
impossibility of raising capital, that no way was open but an 
abandonment of all lines in abeyance. Thus the important 
London Bridge line, where much property had been purchased, 
and the Western extensions, to obtain which cost £400,000, 
were abandoned. The other branches, excepting that to 
Alton, were also given up, and west of Salisbury the only 
property to show for the excessive cost of parliamentary 
powers were some shares in the North Devon and Sutton 
Harbour Companies, and the ownership of a short mineral line 
from Bodmin to Wadebridge. 


The Eleotrfo Telegraph — Mechanical Improvements — Competency of the 
Staff— New Secretaries — The Traffic Manager Emigrates — Arrival 
of Mr. Scott. 

The growth of the South Western from a trunk line of 77 
miles to a system embracing 242 miles of railway, naturally 
brought about a corresponding change in the Company's staff 
and stock. Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention, 
and despite the discouraging influence stringent economy 
presented to all progress for some years after the mania, many 
initial hindrances to safe and efficient management had, in a 
space of twelve years, been removed by the help of science. 
First and foremost came the electric telegraph, with its 
wondrous power of flashing intelligence from station to station. 
As early as 1844 experiments were made between Nine Elms 
and Wimbledon on Bain's principle, but with only partial 
success. Then Messrs. Cook and Wheatstone came forward 
with an invention which they held would answer every require- 
ment. The Government were at the time anxious to improve 
telegraphic communication between the Admiralty and Ports- 
mouth Dockyard, then carried on by means of signals from hill 
to hill. Messrs. Cook and Wheatstone undertook a contract 
for 21 years, at £1,500 a year, to provide an electric telegraph 
between the points named ; they entered into negotiation with 
the South Western to give them a line of way, and eventually 
an arrangement was come to by which the Company found 
half the necessary capital, and took 'half the profits. When 
completed, in 1845, it was the longest and most important 
line of electric telegraph established in England. South 
Western authorities could scarcely have foreseen the important 
influence this grand discovery was destined to bear upon the 


future development and working of their traffic — a discovery 
supported by them simply with a view to profit arising out of 
the Government contract, and the few private telegrams they 
expected to obtain — but its all important usefulness in the 
economy of a railway forced itself upon their attention, and 
additional wires were soon run up for the Company's own busi- 
ness between the principal stations. 

The locomotive department, where every detail was open 
to improvement, presented a fine and inexhaustible field for 
scientific study. During Mr. Gooch's tenure of office some 
advancement was made, and when that inventive genius, Mr. 
Joseph Beattie, succeeded him in 1850 as locomotive super- 
intendent, efforts in the direction of efficiency were re-doubled. 
Engines of greater weight, strength and speed took the place 
of original stock, and while these were being built, Mr. Beattie 
turned his attention to the task of reducing the cost of manu- 
facturing engine coke. His process proved very successful, 
and subsequently coal in a raw state was used to feed the 
engine fires. 

Side by side with mechanical progress and efficiency 
marched the Company's human agents. In the place of 
employes ignorant of even the elementary principles of railway 
work, upon whom the Company were in their early days 
dependent, a new class of men sprang up — men, so to speak, 
to the manner born. They entered the service in their youth, 
growing with the traffic ; able and competent, as new lines 
opened, to take important positions and conduct the Company's 
business with credit and satisfaction. Naturally in a new 
industry, different, and sometimes antagonistic classes of 
society were drawn together, and twenty years after the line 
opened many traces of this diversity still existed. In no grade 
was it more noticeable than in that of station master. At 
one station a man with the education and address of a gentle- 
man, one who took his place in the best society of the neigh- 
bourhood, might be found ; at another a rubricund visage and 
peculiar phraseology proclaimed the Company's chief officer 


to have had, at some remote period, an intimate acquaintance 
with the fast becoming obsolete stage coach. Here might be 
seen a village shopkeeper in charge ; there a broken-down 
farmer paced the platform. Time, ever remorseless, gradually 
weeded out these evidences of an age when railways were not, 
planting in their places professed railway men, who had worked 
their way up in the service. 

Although the staff advanced in competency and general 
intelligence, it cannot, unfortunately, be said that they met 
with much encouragement during the screwing economy period 
forced upon the directors by commercial depression. True, 
that from 1849 the Company gave £150 per annum to the 
South Western Friendly Society, and, in 1851, a sum of 
£1,800 was divided among the staff in bonuses, for extra 
exertions in conducting the Great Exhibition traffic ; but it 
took many years to bring back the old salaries and wages, and 
to efface the bad impressions created by a cutting down policy. 
The amount of £1,800, be it stated, was not shared in by the 
chief officers, they had received consolation for reduced salaries 
in a more gratifying and substantial manner. In a half yearly 
balance sheet for 1850 a paragraph appeared, stating, that in 
the directors' opinion, it would be advantageous to the Com- 
pany for a portion of the executive officers' salaries to vary 
with the net revenue of the railway; and in subsequent reports, 
under the heading, " Commission to Executive," amounts 
varying from £600 to upwards of £2,000 were inserted. 

Liberal as commission arrangements were, they do not 
appear to have been conducive to a settled and contented staff 
of officers, there being many changes at a time when the 
Company were most in want of reliable men. Mr. P. Laurentz 
Campbell, the secretary, died in 1848, after a short but faithful 
service of three years. His advice and experience had been 
of great value to the Company in their dealings with the 
Board of Trade, so valuable that Mr. Chaplin proposed a 
grant of £1,000 to his widow ; but shareholders were not 
then in a humour to vote hard cash to anyone but themselves, 


and as loud murmurs greeted the proposition it was reluctantly 
withdrawn. Mr. Campbell was buried in the Garrison 
Church of Portsmouth, a town in which he took great interest, 
using his utmost endeavours on behalf of South Western 
projects in that direction. It is melancholy to relate, in 
connection with his Portsmouth advocacy, how he became a 
pioneer of the railway he had laboured to introduce to that 
town — the first South Western train running into Portsmouth 
station conveying his dead body. After Mr. Campbell's death 
new secretaries followed thick and fast; Mr. Wyndham 
Harding succeeded him, but he only held the position four 
years ; Mr. A. Bulkley took his place in 1852, and the 
following year saw Mr. Crombie in the secretary's chair. 

In 1852 an unexpected change took place in the manage- 
ment of the traffic department. Mr. Stovin, in addition to 
other duties, conducted the goods traffic, and this had been in 
a very unsatisfactory state for several years ; shareholders 
anxiously inquired at each meeting if some improvement 
could not be made, and at length a committee was appointed 
to report upon the question. Their decision really amounted to 
an approval of the system in vogue, and in consequence 
nothing was done. Mr. Stovin, according to a statement 
made at the next half-yearly general meeting, had become 
somewhat deranged in health and mind, and his books were 
in a state of confusion. He was granted three weeks holiday 
to recruit, but in the exercise of a wise discretion, and with- 
out any preliminary advertisement, he suddenly left England 
for America. Upon his accounts being examined a deficiency 
of about £8,000 was discovered. Indirectly the Company's 
loss exceeded this amount by some thousands, several carriers 
preferring claims against the Company, and one in the West 
of England became a bankrupt, being deep in the Company's 
debt. At about the same time, too, either on account of 
distress caused by reduced salaries or a prevailing epidemic of 
low morality, a cashier and one or two others victimized the 
Company to a considerable extent, and it is pretty certain 


that with the system, or rather absence of system, of audit 
then prevailing, not one third of the total defalcations was 
ever discovered. These losses pressed heavily on the South 
Western, and some years elapsed before they could be finally 
disposed of. 

Mr. Stovin's sudden departure caused great consternation 
at head-quarters, but a very different feeling animated the 
staff, who viewed the contretemps with no little satisfaction, 
the traffic manager being anything but a popular man. He 
was usually honoured (?) with the title of " Black Prince," 
but whether this arose on account of his black beard and dark 
complexion generally, or by reason of his overbearing, incon- 
sistent and despotic character, is not quite clear. From his 
safe asylum beyond the seas he wrote indignantly denying 
that he had been guilty of appropriating any of the Company's 
property, but when Mr. Chaplin offered to pay his passage to 
England if he would come over and explain matters, he main- 
tained a judicious silence. 

The directors soon obtained another manager, in the 
person of Mr. Archibald Scott, who was described by the 
Chairman as " coming with great experience and a high 
character from several railways in Scotland, including the 
Edinburgh and Glasgow, the North British, and the Edinburgh, 
Perth and Dundee." At a meeting held on August 17th, 1852, 
the day on which Mr. Scott was to commence his duties, a 
shareholder, presumably with a vision of Mr. Stovin's flight 
before his eyes, wished to know in what amount the new 
manager was to be guaranteed, and who were the bondsmen. 
Mr. Chaplin, in replying, observed, amidst laughter, that 
having been guarantee for Mr. Stovin to the tune of £500, he 
would take particular notice that he did not become bondsman 
for anyone again. 

One of the earliest and most important results of Mr. 
Scott's management, was an alteration in the principle under 
which the goods traffic was conducted. Instead of entrusting 
carriers with so large a share in its management, the Company 


became common carriers themselves and undertook the collec- 
tion and delivery of goods and parcels. In addition to being 
passenger superintendent, Mr*. Godson had the supervision of 
all goods traffic, excepting the district between Southampton 
and Dorchester, which was in the hands of Mr. Watkins, 
superintendent at Southampton. Mr. Taylor acted as goods 
manager at Nine Elms until 1853, when Mr. Hedger took 
his place. 

Prior to Mr. Scott's arrival, endeavours had been made to 
encourage travelling by the issue of season tickets ; and family 
tickets were also issued to the Dorsetshire coast during the 
summer months. Although improvements on original plans 
were apparent in almost every department, but little attention 
appears to have been paid to comfort at the stations, such 
edifices being as badly built and as meanly appointed as ever. 
At Portsmouth, for instance, in 1848 the station under the 
joint control of the South Western and Brighton Companies 
was a miserable structure. Its one narrow platform was 
planked : the booking office and waiting room were constructed 
of deal boards lined with canvas; and every part of the 
station was of a like character* 


A Proposal from the West — Mr. Castleman's Amendment— Mr. Chaplin 
resigns — A Solemn Pledge broken — An Aotion for Libel against 
the Times, and a Verdict of Manslaughter against the Chair- 
man — Mr. Chaplin returns to power. 

After all the excitement of a fiercely contested Parlia- 
mentary campaign, and the exaggerated hopes engendered by 
unconditional and complete victory, leaders of public opinion 
in the Western Counties were by no means prepared to see the 
powers, which they had laboured so zealously to obtain, thrown 
to the winds. Finding that the South Western shareholders 
set their faces hard against any extension, a proposal was 
made to the Board in 1851, by landowners and other influential 
residents, offering to undertake the construction of a line 
from Salisbury to Exeter, on receiving an assurance of 
moderate assistance from the Company. The directors decided 
that any subscription of capital toward such an object was alto- 
gether out of the question, but they agreed to work the line at 
50 per cent, of the receipts. At the same time, residents on 
the abandoned Basingstoke and Salisbury line became restless, 
and gave notice of application to Parliament for powers to take 
over the South Western Company's unfinished works between 
Basingstoke and Salisbury, and make the line themselves. 
This roused the Company to action, and it was decided to push 
on the work without delay, but to construct a single instead of 
a double line. When these questions came before a special 
meeting of the shareholders for confirmation, affairs took an 
altogether unexpected turn, and the decision arrived at was 
within an ace of upsetting the whole course of South Western 
history. Mr. Castleman, ever on the look-out for an oppor- 
tunity to improve and utilize the Dorchester line, moved an 
amendment in opposition to the directors — " That a Committee 


be now appointed, of the shareholders, to consider and 
examine into the proposal of the Central and Coast schemes, 
and that the meeting be adjourned to receive their report." 
Extraordinary to relate, this amendment was carried, and 
accordingly, a week later, the Committee, of which Mr. Castle- 
man was a member, submitted a report strongly in favour of 
extending the Dorchester line to Exeter, in preference to the 
Central scheme. Mr. Chaplin and other directors, who had 
devoted themselves to the Salisbury and Yeovil line, naturally 
tried their hardest to prevent so radical a change in South 
Western policy. A poll was demanded, and on the last day 
of the year 1851 it was declared ; Mr. Castleman obtaining a 
majority of 970 votes, the numbers in his favour being 4,095, 
as against 8,125. 

Through their change of policy the shareholders lost the 
services of the Earl of Morley as deputy-chairman. Mr. 
Chaplin remained at the head of affairs and tried to turn the 
tables upon the coast party, who were gaining ground in the 
directorate. In August 1852 a special meeting resolved " that 
it is very important to the interests of this Company that the 
original design of an extension line from Salisbury to Exeter 
should be carried out without delay, and that the question 
shall go back to the directors to report thereon to a special 
meeting in September." A committee appointed to consider 
the question, reported in favour of the Central scheme, and the 
meeting was adjourned for a month. Great peparations were 
made by both sides, the unusual course being adopted of 
issuing a circular signed by the Secretary of the Company, 
giving the names of directors who were in favour of 
the Central Line, and of those who opposed it. After 
considerable discussion the question was put "For the line 
to Exeter," and "Against the line to Exeter," the latter 
obtaining a majority. A poll was demanded, and then 
12,889 votes were given in favour of the extension, and 
12,610 against it. This was followed by the resignation 
of Mr. Chaplin as chairman, after holding that office for 


ten years. At the time of his retirement notice had been 
given of an intention to apply to Parliament for powers to 
amalgamate the South Western and Brighton Companies, but 
like a much more ambitious scheme proposed three years 
before for the amalgamation of the North Western, the Great 
Western and the South Western, it quickly collapsed. 

The Hon. Francis Scott succeeded to the anything but 

thankful office of chairman, with Mr. Hibbert as deputy, and 

he was not long in discovering that to fill the office successfully 

involved almost as much statesmanship and diplomatic skill as 

the conduct of the affairs of a great nation. The victory of Mr. 

Castleman's division was very shortlived ; it commenced under 

inauspicious circumstances and ended in the most tremendous 

row known to railway history. In 1858 the Great Western 

and Bristol and Exeter Companies projected a Devon and 

Dorset broad gauge line, against which the South Western 

lodged a petition. During the proceedings the Hon. F. 

Scott gave Parliament a pledge, that if they rejected the Broad 

Gauge Bill the South Western would make a double line from 

Dorchester to Exeter. On these conditions the Devon and 

Dorset line was thrown out, and the chairman's pledge was 

subsequently approved at a meeting of shareholders called for 

the purpose. But little notice appears to have been taken of 

the serious responsibility involved in this pledge until the 

directors advertised their intention to apply for parliamentary 

powers ; then, in consequence of a dear money market, a great 

outcry was raised. Mr. Snell at the head of a committee of 

shareholders, and Mr. Mortimer, a director, contended 

that the directors obtained authority to make the pledge 

under false representations, and that instead of the 

Dorset line yielding a profit of 8J per cent, as stated 

by them, a loss of £16,000 per annum was incurred 

thereon. Letters appeared in the papers declaring that the 

meeting sanctioning an extension from Dorchester was 

" packed/' Indignant answers to these accusations, and a long 

leader in the Times, denouncing the directors, heralded th$ 


coming storm. In their report the directors averred that the 
question whether the Company should or should not carry out 
the line was not open to discussion, that a solemn engagement 
to go to Parliament had been entered into, and that it would 
be alike politic and just to fulfil it. The meeting was held 
on November 15th, 1858, at Hawkstone Hall, Waterloo Road. 
The proceedings were uproarious from the commencement; 
shareholders hissed and groaned, shouted and raved at each 
other for upwards of five hours, till at last the long suffering 
chairman lost his temper, and told them they certainly showed 
themselves eminently qualified to conduct a large mercantile 
concern ! In bis opening speech he argued as well as the 
systematic interruptions would permit, that only one honour- 
able course remained open, and that was to plead the altered 
state of the times, and to decide whether the undertaking 
could be so varied as to carry it out substanially in a manner less 
burdensome to the Company than the exact and literal fulfil- 
ment might then occasion. How could he meet his colleagues 
in the House of Commons, he pleaded, if this solemn pledge 
were broken ? " Tell them " roared Mr. Dickinson in reply, 
" that the captain tried to carry the ship on a shoal of rocks, 
and the crew mutinied and prevented him." This sally 
provoked great cheering. A shareholder asked where the 
money was to come from to make the line ? " Borrow it," 
said the chairman. "But," retorted his questioner (referring 
to events then happening in the East, which ultimately lead to 
the Crimean War) " is the booming of cannon on the Danube, 
or the presence of the allied fleets in the Dardanelles indicative of 
cheap money?" Serjeant Gaselee, who was received with 
mingled cheers and groans, observed that he cared little whether 
he was heard or not, but he was unwilling that anyone should 
be allowed to say that the shareholders were unanimous 
on the question, or that any man should be permitted to 
slander him before a Committee of the House of Commons. 
When another committee sat he would insist on being himself 
examined, and then he would take care to reveal the horrors of 


the " charnel house." He would have it pointed out how the 
people who were about to contract for the line sent in their 
proxies, how lawyers, engineers and contractors voted, and how 
it was thus possible to carry out a line in the very teeth of a 
minority whose interests were deeply concerned. It appears 
that the engineer for the Western line had employed persons 
to canvass for votes in favour of the extension. As may be 
imagined, Mr. Puncher was quite in his element at this 
meeting. " I have received as much as 9£ per cent, and now 
the dividend is down to 8 " he wailed. He denounced the 
parliamentary contests of the directors, and said, in point of 
fact they were more for the purpose of putting money into the 
pockets of Bircham & Co. than for the benefit of the railway. 
Mr. Bircham attempted several times to obtain a hearing in 
order to repudiate this insinuation, which was without a shadow 
of foundation, but his presence was the signal for greater 
uproar than ever, and Mr. Beattie, a shareholder, narrowly 
escaped personal injury for daring to rise to order. A poll was 
taken on the following Saturday, when similar scenes were 
enacted, and upon the directors being found in a minority the 
cheering was tremendous. The chairman abruptly closed the 
meeting, but Serjeant Gaselee immediately took the chair 
and passed resolutions declaring it necessary to reconstruct 
the board of directors, and to pay all expenses of opposing 
their policy out of the Company's funds. On this occasion 
Mr. Puncher fairly surpassed himself, — " The only part of the 
chairman's speech which gives me satisfaction " he said " is 
his threat of resigning, and I hope he will quickly carry it into 
execution. With all respect for the private character of the 
directors, I look upon them as a nest of scorpions and the 
sooner we get rid of them the better." When the pledge was 
given the market value of South Western capital became 
depreciated to the extent of nearly three quarters of a million, 
but after this meeting shares rose rapidly. 

Upon such a remarkable manifestation of feeling, and the 
passing of resolutions virtually breaking faith with Parliament, 


the chairman and four of his colleagues resigned. A parlous 
time ft certainly was when the Hon. Francis Scott undertook 
a leading part in South Western management, and buffeted as 
railway directors frequently are, no one ever met with less 
encouragement in the office of chairman than he did. In 
addition to the serious consequences likely to follow a breach 
of faith with Parliament, he had the misfortune, when riding 
upon a new engine on its trial trip, to run over and kill an 
employe. A coroner's jury promptly returned a verdict of 
manslaughter against him, and it was not until the grand 
jury at the assizes threw out the charge that all anxiety on 
this score was removed. He subsequently became entangled 
in an action for libel against the Times, whose leading articles, 
written before and after the Hawkstone Hall meeting, were 
very hostile to the directors. They were couched in such 
strong terms that the chairman, considering them to have 
passed the bounds of fair criticism, prosecuted Mr. Harrison, 
the printer, for libel. Fortune, till then dead against him, 
became more kind and a verdict was given in his favour. To 
have involved a company in a dispute with Parliament, to 
be indicted for manslaughter, to become engaged in an action 
for libel against the most powerful journal in the world, and 
by way of adding insult to injury, to be described by a share - 
holder as one of a " nest of scorpions," does not, fortunately 
for the fraternity, come within the experience of every 
railway chairman ; yet, during his short career of twelve months, 
such an ordeal fell to the lot of the Hon. F. Scott. For all 
this, a resolution, supported by Mr. Serjeant Gaselee, was 
passed at the next half-yearly meeting, expressing regret at 
his retirement, and thanking him and his brother directors for 
their services. 

Parliament first took notice of the broken pledge in 1855, 
when a Bill was introduced dealing with the Basingstoke and 
Salisbury line, a portion of which from Basingstoke to Andover 
had been opened on July 3rd, 1854. The committee, to 
whom the Bill was referred, stated their regret that no 


provision was to be found for redeeming the pledge given in 
1858, and that they would, in the absence of any satisfactory 
proposal being made, insert a clause binding the company 
to cany out fully the terms of that pledge " on pain of the 
company's dividends being stopped." Upon receiving this 
emphatic minute the directors called a special meeting of the 
proprietors, and asked that the question might be left in their 
hands. " You will readily understand," said the chairman, 
" that the duty of dealing with it is not an enviable one, nor 
such as the board might not be very desirous of shifting the 
responsibility of meeting. But this would, in their opinion, 
be inconsistent with their duty ; arid I have therefore to say, 
on their behalf, that if you think fit to leave the further 
management of the pending Bill in our hands, it will be our 
endeavour to bring things to such a close as will be consistent 
with the best interests of the Company. We shall take care 
on the one hand, to express the feeling of regret entertained 
by the proprietors (which we believe to be unanimous), that 
this Company should have given, and should be unable to 
perform the pledge of 1853 ; and we shall, on the other, state 
our firm conviction that to effect the object then contemplated 
is now impossible. Beyond this, it does not appear to be 
judicious that I should at present go, but the proprietors, 
supposing they leave the business in our hands, may be assured 
that we feel the gravity of the Company's position in all its 
bearings, and will do our best to retrieve it." The Commons 
were satisfied with the directors' explanations, but when the 
Bill reached the Lords, a committee inserted a clause binding 
the Company to proceed with the Western line in the following 
session. At the Wharncliffe meeting, the shareholders 
refused to agree to this, but the Lords held that the Wharn- 
cliffe order did not apply to the clause, which they retained, 
and by way of retaliation struck out the whole of the others, 
including a clause for raising funds, so that had the Bill been 
passed the Company would have been compelled to proceed 
without; the necessary capital. The shareholders were thus 


forced into compliance, and in the following session a Bill was 
passed enabling the Company to make a line from Exeter to 
Yeovil. Arrangements had been previously made with the 
Salisbury and Yeovil promoters to work their line. Parlia- 
mentary interference in South Western policy did not, however, 
end with a settlement of the Western extension, and as late 
as 1860, when the Company were promoting a line to 
Kingston, a petition from Dorsetshire was presented to the 
House of Lords complaining that the pledge had not been 
fully carried out, the doubling of the Dorset line being a part 
of the undertaking. Several leaders on both sides of the 
House took part in a discussion upon the third reading, and 
when pressed to a division the Bill was carried by a majority 
of one only. 

When the chairman and his colleagues resigned, a regular 
scramble for seats took place, and the shareholders became 
divided into two opposite camps, calling themselves " exten- 
sion! sts," and "non-extensionists." To add to the melee, Mr. 
Puncher contested the election of Mr. Close, the retiring auditor, 
offering to undertake the duties of that office for nothing. The 
result of the poll, however, could scarcely have been flattering to 
his self esteem, for he only obtained 5,124 votes against 23,016 
for Mf. Close. Candidates for the directorate not only stated 
their own qualifications for office but questioned the fitness 
of others. The Hon. Ralph Dutton was objected to by one 
section, as an extensionist of the worst sort, for had he not in 
times past advocated a line from Romsey to Cheltenham ? 
Mr. Melville Portal and Captain Mangles were similarly 
charged, the one because he upheld the Basingstoke and 
Salisbury extension, the other on account of his brother being 
a member of the Portsmouth Atmospheric Board of Directors. 
It was generally understood that Sir William Heathcote 
would take the chair, and after much discussion the names of 
candidates were submitted to him with a request that he 
would select six from the list. He picked out three from each 
camp — Mr. Mortimer, Col. Henderson, (the two retiring 


directors), the Hop. Ralph Dutton, Lieut. -Col. Luard, 
Captain Mangles and Mr. Hatching. In addition to these, 
there were, at this crisis, six other gentlemen on the board: — 
Mr. Chaplin, Count Eyre, Captain Johnston, Mr. Serjeant 
Gaselee, Mr. H. C. Lacy and Mr. Matthew Uzielli. Sir 
William Heathcote declined office, and Mr. Chaplin was again 
unanimously elected chairman. For the vacant seat caused 
by Sir William Heath cote's retirement, two candidates 
appeared — Mr. Snell and Mr. Willcox of the Peninsular and 
Oriental Steamship Company's board. Mr. Snell obtained 
the greatest number of votes, but the votes given for Mr. 
Willcox represented the greatest amount of stock. It was 
contested by the latter that some of his opponents' votes were 
spurious. A scrutiny was demanded, and as neither candidate 
would give way, Mr. Chaplin refused to declare the poll. After 
a long discussion it was decided to refer the matter in dispute 
to the Marquis of Chandoa, but that nobleman declined the 
reference. Mr. Snell thereupon threatened legal proceedings 
against the chairman to compel him to declare the poll, and 
he ultimately took his seat. 


A New Portsmouth Direot Line — The Brighton Company Unreasonable— 
The Battle of Havant — Ruinous Competition — Mutual Concessions. 

While the Company were busy arranging matters with 
Parliament for a Western extension, an important scheme 
was being developed on their south-eastern frontier. The 
Portsmouth Direct Atmospheric line, which had been preferred 
to the South Western counter project, had, like many a better 
scheme, spent an immense amount of capital in obtaining 
an Act, and being utterly unable to proceed, its Parliamentary 
powers were allowed to lapse. The following incident 
will throw great light upon the extravagant way in which 
the promoters of that line squandered their money : — 
a certain landowner on the route gave them his support upon 
the condition that he should be paid £20,000 for a portion of 
his land, whether they required it or not. They did not take 
his land, but he was nevertheless paid the £20,000. Upon 
the Direct Atmospheric proving abortive, another scheme 
somewhat similar, but minus the atmospheric principle, called 
the Portsmouth Direct, was started. The South Western and 
Brighton Companies opposed the line without success, and the 
first sod was turned at Buriton by Mr. Bonham Carter, on 
August 6th, 1858. The South Western tried their hardest to 
induce the Brighton to join them in working the line, pro- 
posing to absorb it into the two systems ; but the Brighton 
shareholders, like most shareholders at that time, were 
prejudiced against extensions and refused to agree. The 
promoters of the line then made arrangements with Mr. 
Brassey, their contractor, to work the line for a term of years; 
but this did not meet the views of South Western directors, 
who called a meeting of shareholders to consider the advisability 


of leasing the undertaking. Sanction was readily accorded by 

the proprietors, and the South Western took possession. 

Then the Brighton acted a dog-in-the-manger policy ; they 

would not assist in working the line, yet they objected to the 

South Western doing so alone. Endeavours were made to 

arrange terms for running trains from the Direct line into 

Portsmouth, the right to use that portion of the joint line 

from Havant to Portsmouth being disputed by the Brighton. 

Mr. Harrison, engineer to the North Eastern Company, was 

appointed arbitrator and failed to effect a settlement. 

The Company advertised the line to be opened on January 

1st, 1859, and at the same time gave the Brighton notice that 

a goods train would be run over it into Portsmouth on the 

morning of December 28th, four days prior to the proposed 

opening. To this the Brighton replied, that the passage of 

such a train through Havant Junction would be opposed, if 

necessary, by force. Being thus menaced, the South Western 

prepared for action, and when their goods train steamed down 

to Havant, early on the morning named, it was manned by 

upwards of a hundred platelayers and other rough and ready 

employes of the Company, under the orders of Mr. Scott and 

Mr. Ogilvie, Mr. Brassey's partner. The South Western 

train was not expected until about 10 o'clock, but Mr. Scott 

took time by the forelock, and reached the junction at 7 a.m. 

He found that the Brighton people had prepared for a surprise 

by removing the points, and placing an engine on the crossing 

during the night. No time was lost in re-laying the points, 

and then, being unable to effect a passage, the Brighton engine 

was forcibly seized and shunted into a siding. By this time 

the rival army had mustered in force, and before Mr. Scott 

could get clear they lifted a rail on their main line. The South 

Western goods was then on the crossing, blocking both lines, 

and in that position Mr. Scott and his force remained for two 

hours, waiting to see if his opponents would give way. At one 

time a serious fight appeared imminent, but at length, finding 

no good was likely to result from a further appeal to force, Mr, 


Scott retreated on Guildford, leaving the question to be fought 
out before the Court of Queen's Bench, in a fashion more in 
accordance with the recognized rules of railway warfare. The 
Brighton Company summoned several South Western men for 
assaulting their servants, and Mr. Ogilvie was fined one 
shilling and costs for his superfluous energy on the occasion. 
A mandamus was applied for, to restrain the South Western 
from running trains into Portsmouth, but in this the Brighton 
were defeated, and through trains commenced to run on 
January 24th, 1859. The line had been opened to Havant on 
January 1st, a service of omnibuses conveying passengers be- 
tween that place and Portsmouth. 

Exasperated at their defeat, the Brighton Company 
commenced a policy of senseless and wasteful competition. 
Third-class excursions to London and back were run daily at a 
fare of five shillings. The South Western of course followed 
suit, and as their route was the shortest it naturally found 
most favour with the public. Then the Brighton came down 
to three shillings and sixpence by all trains, and made their 
tickets available for two days. Not to be outdone, the South 
Western again met them on equal terms with a satisfactory 
result. Ultimately, finding they were getting the worst of 
the bargain, the Brighton threw up the sponge, and to the 
utter disgust of Portsmouth people, excursion fares were 
abolished, the two companies agreeing to divide all Portsmouth 
traffic in the proportion of two-thirds to the South Western 
and one-third to the Brighton. It was estimated that the 
companies jointly lost £80,000 during the time excursion fares 
were charged. 


Death of Mr. Chaplin —Several Branches Opened — The Line Extended 
to Exeter — Looal Rejoioings — Death of Mr. Looke. 

Mr. Chaplin did not live to see the realization of that 
grand scheme of Western extension which owed so much to his 
powerful and enthusiastic advocacy. HI health compelled him 
to resign his seat on the Board in 1858, and early in the 
following year his colleagues lost for ever the counsel his 
sterling common sense and unrivalled experience alone could 
bestow. He had piloted the South Western through crisis 
after crisis; he held the reins of power during the most 
perilous period of its existence ; he was thwarted often, and 
undermined at his own Board ; he was accused of seeking to 
serve his own ends, and several times the shareholders rose 
against him, but he never swerved for one instant from the 
straight course he had marked out for himself. The South 
Western knew him no more, but his ideas and the whole bent 
of his policy were indelibly impressed upon the subsequent 
history of the Company — so impressed, that the South Western 
of to-day, which affords the most incontestable proof of his 
foresight, may be said to be of his creation. 

Although Mr. Chaplin did not live to see the Salisbury 
and Exeter line opened, yet several important lines in connec- 
tion with that extension, and other branches were brought into 
use during his time. The North Devon line was opened in 
1854, and the remaining section of the Basingstoke and 
Salisbury line, from Andover to Milford, was publicly opened 
on May 1st, 1857. On June 9th, 1856, a branch from 
Staines to Ascot was brought into use, and during the same 
year the Dorchester and Weymouth and Portsmouth Dockyard 


branches were opened. At the same time the Company 
dispensed with contractors in keeping the line in repair, and 
acting under pressure from the Board of Trade, who had been 
memorialised on the matter, a portion of the Dorchester line 
was doubled. On July 12th of the year following a branch to 
Lymington was opened, powers for the construction of which 
had been obtained by an independent company in 1856, 
their original Act, passed during the mania, having lapsed. 
A line from Epsom to Leatherhead was opened on February 
10th, 1859, and on the 4th of the following month a branch 
from Wimbledon to Epsom was first used by the public. These 
branches were constructed by independent companies, who 
were more fortunate than the South Western in their 
endeavours to obtain an Act. The Company made arrange- 
ments to purchase the latter line, while the former was taken 
over by the South Western and Brighton jointly. Another 
branch in this district — from Wimbledon to Croydon — was 
also bought in the same year by the Companies jointly. 

The first sod of the westward extension was turned at 
Gillingham on April 3rd 1856, by Miss Seymour, sister to the 
chairman of the Salisbury and Yeovil Company. Although the 
balance standing to the credit of that company at their bankers 
was but £4 2s. 4d. on the eventful day, they nevertheless 
presented their fair patroness with a solid silver spade, a 
handsomely decorated barrow and an elegant pair of gauntlets 
with which to perform the ceremony. Mr. Louis H. Ruegg, 
in his interesting work, " The History of a Railway," graphically 
describes the scene. "It seemed" he says "as though, 
human adversaries having done their worst to impede, nature 
had now taken up the work of baffling and obstructing. That 
fickle jade, the weather, whirled sheets of water on our heads, 
blew garments into ribbons, and cast our speeches back into our 
teeth. And when the sodden field was left, and the party 
sought some protection from the bitter elements under a large 
marquee, Pluvius made his unwelcome way through the canvas, 
and, crowning insult of all, mingled our wine with water ! 


These would have been trials enough to break the hearts of 
many men, but the promoters of the undertaking had had too 
much of the buffetting of adversity to be depressed now ; and 
they simply raised the dilated champagne to their mouths with 
the quiet remark, ' We have had so much cold water thrown 
over us before that a bucket or two extra can make no difference 
now.' " 

On May 1st, 1859, amidst various local rejoicings, the 
line was opened from Salisbury to Gillingbam, and on May 7th, 
1860, it was extended to Sherborne. At the latter town, where 
throughout the struggles for a central line public sympathy 
had been most cordial, the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. Over 
1,000 school children were assembled at the station and sang 
the National Anthem as the first train ran in ; salutes were 
fired, bells rung, and a special service was held in the church, 
at which the preacher took for his text the words, " Many shall 
run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased/' In the 
following month the line was opened from Sherborne to Yeovil, 
and six weeks later, on July 18th, 1860, the remaining portion 
from Yeovil to Exeter was publicly opened. The authorities 
of the towns on the route were scheming and planning for 
weeks how best to give effect to their joy at the advent of 
the narrow gauge. A monster train, with the directors and 
chief officers, drawn by three engines, steamed out of Waterloo 
station at 8 o'clock, and from Yeovil downwards the directors' 
progress became a triumphal procession, the entire population 
turning out to give them a welcome. Long addresses, wishing 
the South Western prosperity and the directors every earthly 
blessing, were read at each station ; at Crewkerne the platform 
was kept by riflemen, bands played and thousands cheered the 
train upon its approach, while the number of gentlemen in white 
kid gloves and adorned with white rosettes was so great, as to 
be described by a reporter of the proceedings as resembling a 
" gigantic marriage ceremony " ; a dinner was subsequently 
given to the aged poor, and a tea provided for the school 
children. Axminster and Honiton were equally enthusiastic. 


At the former town sports and amusements were provided, 
among them the somewhat remarkable spectacle of a cheese 
hunt — four cheeses being rolled down a hill, to be followed by 
a multitude of pursuers. At Feniton, Sir John Pattison and 
Sir John Coleridge were among those who tendered their 
congratulations. The demonstration culminated in a most 
fervent welcome at Exeter, where the directors were received 
by the Mayor and Corporation. Business was entirely sus- 
pended in the Cathedral City, and its streets were profusely 
decorated with bunting and triumphal arches. A tent had 
been erected on Northernhay and an elegant dejeuner provided, 
under the presidency of the Mayor. An emblazoned address 
was presented, and the directors were congratulated on having, 
" after a long period of opposition and difficulty, accomplished 
a desirable work, which has the merit of affording direct com- 
munication between the great national arsenals, thus producing 
lasting benefits." In proposing the toast of " Prosperity to 
the City of Exeter," the Hon. Ralph Dutton expressed the 
great regret entertained by his colleagues and himself, that 
Mr. Chaplin, who first conceived the idea of a western extension, 
had not lived to see that day. Mr. Locke, the engineer, also 
appeared for the last time on behalf of the South Western, and 
in replying to the healths of " The members for Honiton," 
said " For sixteen years I have endeavoured to bring this line 
to bear, and I assure you that I have been engaged on no line 
that had more of my ardent feeling and energy." 

Two months after making this speech, viz., on 
September 18th, 1860, Joseph Locke died at Moffat in Annan- 
dale, aged 55. He had received the decoration of the Legion 
of Honour in 1845, and was president of the Institution of 
Civil Engineers from 1847 till his death. As an engineer, the 
principal point with him was the great economy with which all 
his works were carried out. His biographer says, " It was a 
principle of his that nothing should be called into existence 
which did not subserve the public interests to such a degree 
as to make them remunerate the projectors for the capital 


invested in its creation. Railways and steamboats, with Mr. 
Locke, were commercial speculations ; hence if they failed to 
pay, they onght never to have been constructed." After his 
death, an estate at Barnsley, now called Locke Park, was 
given to that town by his widow, as a place of public recrea- 
ation, and a statue of Mr. Locke has been erected in the 
park. In 1859 Mr. Locke presided at the first public dinner 
of the Railway Benevolent Institution. 


A Defensive Polioy — A Great Western Assault on Southampton and a 
South Western Attack on Bristol — The Quadruple Treaty — New 
Branches Proposed and Opened. 

The policy pursued by the Board under Captain Mangles' 
chairmanship, extending from 1859 to 1871, was one of 
defence, tempered by judicious development of the system. 
Shareholders were very watchful when the new chairman took 
office, and any extension, even if projected in opposition to a 
rival line, provoked much adverse criticism. In 1862 several 
proprietors inserted advertisements in various newspapers, 
stating that they were appalled by hearing of the proposed new 
lines, and they feared that unless steps were taken to protect 
the property, the shareholders would be involved in a common 
ruin. These little ebullitions gradually subsided, and during 
the latter period of his official career, Captain Mangles had an 
easy task to fulfil. 

One of the most important matters with which the new 
chairman had to deal, was a determined attempt on the 
part of the Great Western to get into Southampton. In 1857 
a broad gauge line was projected from Salisbury to Southamp- 
ton, the promoters of which asked Parliament for powers to 
purchase the Andover and Bedbridge canal. As in 1846, 
when a Manchester and Southampton line was proposed, the 
South Western opposed the broad gauge by offering to make a 
line from Bomsey to Bedbridge. Both schemes were rejected 
by Parliament. In the following session an independent 
company obtained an Act to make a line from Andover to Bed- 
bridge, and two years later they asked for powers to extend it 
northward to Newbury and southward to Southampton. The 
South Western opposed this strongly, and were fortunate 


enough to procure its rejection. A second attempt in the 
next session met with a similar result. The South 
Western then entered into negotiation with the Andover and 
Redbridge Company for an amalgamation, but here the Great 
Western, who, upon the second defeat of their "cats paw" had 
explored the country from Basingstoke to Southampton and 
Portsmouth, stepped in, and entering into an open alliance 
with the Andover and Redbridge Company, sought the 
authority of Parliament for its absorption, and for making 
extensions to Newbury and Southampton. Here was war to 
the knife ! In their half-yearly report for the latter half of 
1862 the directors announced their intention of introducing a 
Bill to authorize the making of junctions with the Andover 
and Redbridge, and the lease or purchase of that undertaking. 
They also, by way of paying out the Great Western in their 
own coin, projected a line from Gillingham, through North 
Somerset and the Radstock coal fields, to Bristol. Mr. Locke 
had surveyed such a line in 1852 ; it may indeed be said, that 
a South Western extension to Bristol was a pet scheme of the 
eminent engineer's. The directors had however refused to 
support the line, and they now stated that from their desire to 
maintain good relations with all neighbouring companies they 
would certainly have been content to abstain from the pro- 
jection of a railway through North Somerset to Bristol, had 
not the Great Western, after every effort by the Board 
to avert it, " declared war " against the Company and entered 
into irrevocable alliances for establishing a competing interest 
in Southampton. Under the circumstances, the directors 
unanimously determined on taking the necessary steps for 
extending the South Western to Bristol. Before Parliament the 
tussle was long and severe, ending, like many other such costly 
contests in a drawn battle. The South Western case was 
ably conducted — so ably, that when the chairman of the 
committee announced the rejection of both the South Western 
and Great Western schemes, he addressed Mr. F. T. Bircham, 
the Company's solicitor, and said that during a long experience 



he had never known an opposition case got up better. 
South Western directors were jubilant ; they however expressed 
regret that the Bristol line had not been carried ; they 
remained of opinion, they said, that the extension of the 
narrow gauge to that city would have been found both 
remunerative to the Company and protective of its general 
interests, and that it also promised beneficial public results, 
not to Bristol alone, but to an important intermediate district. 

The effect of the Great Western defeat upon the Andover 
and Bedbridge Company was simply crushing. They 
were completely isolated : and troubles followed thick and fast, 
till at length the promoters found themselves in Chancery, 
with a contractor's claim of £22,000 against them for work 
already performed. When matters reached this pass the 
South Western came to the rescue, and in 1868 a Bill was 
passed to amalgamate the unfortunate little company with its 
great neighbour. It was opened on March 6th, 1865. 

The broad gauge bogey, or as South Western directors 
delighted to call it " the exceptional gauge," reared its head 
against the Company in a new quarter during the year 1858, 
causing some little trouble and anxiety. A broad gauge line was 
first projected from Brentford to Richmond. Being defeated, the 
promoters appeared in the next year with a yet more invasive 
measure. A second party also came upon the scene with a 
project for forming a series of railways through Richmond, 
Twickenham, Kingston and Hampton Court. In opposing 
these attempts the Company offered to improve Kew Junction 
and Barnes, and to make a branch from Twickenham to 
Kingston. This arrangement met with the approval of Parlia- 
ment ; the rival schemes were rejected, and, in deference to 
the wishes of the inhabitants of Kingston, who were up in 
arms at the thought of their station being on the Middlesex 
side of the Thames, the South Western agreed to introduce a 
Bill in the next session for an extension of their branch to 
Kingston town. This line was brought into use on July 1st, 


At the same period there were no less than nine schemes 
before Parliament for connecting the railways north of the 
Thames with those on the south, by way of Kensington and 
Clapham Junction. The result of opposition and negotiation 
which ensued led to the withdrawal of all these lines with one 
exception — the West London Extension from Kensington to 
Clapham Junction. This scheme was first taken up by the North 
Western and Great Western, and subsequently supported by 
the South Western and Brighton. The four companies 
agreed to make and manage the line jointly. The South 
Western nominated two directors on the West London Board, 
and contributed d950,000 toward the cost of construction, 
an amount they were afterward compelled to increase. The 
line was first used on March 2nd, 1868. 

Several other important lines were opened in the London 
district during Capt. Mangles' tenure of office, among them 
branches from Twickenham down the Thames Valley to 
Shepperton, and from Kensington to Richmond. An Act 
for the former, as a single line to be worked by the South 
Western, was obtained by an independent company in 1862, 
and opened on November 1st, 1864. The Kensington and 
Richmond line was promoted by the South Western in 18 64 
in opposition to four rival schemes. It was publicly opened on 
January 1st, 1869. 

Parliamentary sanction was obtained in 1868 for an 
extension of the Chertsey line to Virginia Water, and during 
the same year an Act was passed for the construction of a 
junction at Clapham, to connect the South Western with the 
London Chatham and Dover system. An independent com- 
pany also carried a Bill for a Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon 
railway, to be worked by the South Western and Brighton 
Companies jointly. The following year saw the Company 
asking for a line from Wimbledon to Kingston. This was 
granted, and the line brought into use on January 1st, 1869. 
The Wimbledon and Tooting line was opened on October 1st, 
1868. On January 1st in the next year the South Western 


commenced, by arrangement with the London Chatham and 
Dover Company, to ran trains between Wimbledon and 
Ludgate Hill. 

In 1865 a very venturesome and novel project, called the 
Whitehall and Waterloo Railway, was started by a company in 
close connection with the South Western, two of whose 
directors figured on the board. It was proposed to construct 
a railway under the Thames from Waterloo to Whitehall, 
connecting with the District railway, on what was called the 
pneumatic principle. A water tight iron tube was to be laid 
in the bed of the Thames, through which, according to the com- 
pany's prospectus, trains were to be run at three minute inter- 
vals. Such a railway on a small scale had been on exhibition at 
the Crystal Palace, where it proved successful. Fortune by no 
means favoured the promoters, who, as soon as they commenced 
work, found themselves overwhelmed in the financial panic of 
1866. At the end of that year £55,000 had been expended 
upon the scheme, two lengths of tube being laid ; but further 
the company could not go, and after a vain attempt to raise 
additional capital the concern was wound up. The iron tubes 
remain in the Thames to this day. 

In 1867 the directors were approached by the South 
Eastern, Brighton, and London Chatham and Dover Companies, 
who had prepared a Bill for establishing a "working union," 
somewhat resembling, but in important respects short of an 
amalgamation of their respective systems. The South Western 
were asked to join, but a reply was given intimating that the 
directors did not feel justified in entertaining the proposal and 
the Bill was subsequently withdrawn. 

In the counties of Hampshire and Dorsetshire several short 
but important branches were constructed, and the connection 
between the Company and the steam packets was also placed on 
a more satisfactory foundation. The vessels of the Steam 
Packet Company had always been owned by the South Western 
for all purposes of risk and responsibility, and they now, by an 
Act passed in 1862, became absolutely transferred to the 


Company ; the steam packet proprietors shares being commuted 
for a corresponding amount of South Western 4 per cent, 
debenture stock. 

An independent company carried a Bill in 1859 for a 
line from Ringwood to Christchurch. It was opened three 
years later, and in the next session sanction was given to an 
extension to Bournemouth, then fast becoming a popular 
watering place. The branch became opened throughout on 
March 14th, 1870. Two years after, another independent 
company, who obtained an Act in 1865, opened a line from 
Wimbome to Poole, and on June 15th, 1874, it was extended 
to the western side of Bournemouth. The South Western 
agreed to work these branches at so much per cent, of the 
total receipts, and they were subsequently amalgamated with 
the Company's system. 

A short branch from Gosport to Stokes Bay was brought 
into use on April 6th, 1863, and on September 1st, 1864, the 
South Western opened a line from Petersfield to Midhurst. 
It had been constructed by an independent company. 

In 1865 a connection was made between Alton and 
Winchester, through Alresford, by means of a single line 
owned by a company whose Act dated from 1861. They had 
likewise obtained powers to construct a railway from Ropley 
to Bishop's Waltham, but the scheme was abandoned. A 
branch to the latter town from Botley had been sanctioned in 
1862, and was publicly opened on June 1st of the year 

Aldershot, which had been dependent upon Farnboro , for 
railway accommodation, became anxious for a more convenient 
station, and in 1865 a company was formed for constructing 
a line into the Camp. The South Western, considering the 
scheme objectionable, induced the promoters to withdraw, on 
condition that a Bill was presented to Parliament in the next 
session for effecting the object in a more satisfactory manner. 
Accordingly in 1865 the Company obtained an Act for a line 
from Pirbright through Aldershot, to Farnham. It was 
brought into use on May 2nd, 1870. 


A military hospital having heen built at Netley, a company 
of speculators were induced to project a branch from Portswood 
to that place. They were granted an Act in 1861, and the 
line was opened by the South Western in 1866. 

In 1861 an independent company carried a Bill for a line 
from Salisbury, through Downton and Fordingbridge, to the 
Dorset line east of Wimborne. The Company agreed to work 
it, and the line was publicly opened on December 20th, 1866. 
An extension of the Dorset line to Portland, to be worked 
by the South Western and Great Western jointly, was passed 
in 1862. It was to have been opened early in 1865, but 
difficulties arose between the South Western and the promoters, 
the former contending that it had not been constructed 
according to agreement. The matters in dispute were referred 
to an arbitrator, who decided in the Company's favour. Then 
a disagreement occurred with the Great Western, and it was 
not until October 16th of the year named that the extension 
became opened. 

West of Exeter, where a great track of country remained 
unprovided with railway accommodation, extensive lines were 
projected. Several spurs were also thrown out from the 
Salisbury and Exeter line : that to Exmouth was opened on 
May 1st, 1661 ; Chard on May 8th, two years later ; and the 
Seaton branch on March 16th, 1868. Soon after extending 
their system to Exeter the Company discovered that the North 
Devon line, in which they held two-fifths of the entire capital, 
being on the broad gauge, operated more as a feeder of the 
Great Western and Bristol and Exeter Companies than 
of the South Western. The Company therefore obtained a 
lease of the undertaking with option of amalgamation, and 
converted it into a narrow gauge. A junction was made with 
the Bristol and Exeter station at St. David's in 1861, and 
early in the following year South Western trains ran through 
to Crediton. On March 2nd, 1863, the North Devon narrow 
gauge was completed and opened to Bideford. 

Upon the Company obtaining a footing in North Devon, 


they were urged to continue their line to Ilfracombe ; and this 
watering place became, during the next ten years, a veritable 
bone of contention between the broad and narrow gauge in- 
terests. A company was formed in 1863 for carrying a line 
from Barnstaple to Ilfracombe, but they failed to obtain Par- 
liamentary sanction. In the next year the Devon and Somer- 
set Company brought in a Bill for a line from Taunton to 
Barnstaple and Ilfracombe. The South Western opposed by a 
branch from Umberleigh to South and North Molton, and an 
offer to subscribe £50,000 toward an Ilfracombe line, which 
had been again projected by independent parties. In the 
Commons success waited on the South Western, but the Lords 
came to an opposite conclusion, leaving the Company no option 
but to withdraw their proposed Molton branch, and to assent to an 
arrangement for the execution of an Ilfracombe line on the 
mixed gauge, at the joint expense of the contending com- 
panies. This arrangement did not commend itself to the Devon 
and Somerset Company, who were unwilling, or unable, to 
subscribe their proportion of capital. Three years passed by : 
the period allowed for the line to be constructed was fast 
expiring, and no sign being forthcoming of a satisfactory settle- 
ment, the Ilfracombe Company applied to Parliament for an 
extension of time. The Devon and Somerset Company also 
deposited a Bill asking to be released from their liability. The 
Committee to whom the question was referred, reported that 
in their opinion, the Act should be repealed. Thus the whole 
scheme fell through. In 1870 a new Bill was deposited by an 
independent Company, and an Ilfracombe branch, to be worked 
by the South Western, passed safely through Parliament. 

The presence of the South Western in Exeter and North 
Devon evidently meant an advance, sooner or later, upon the 
mercantile and naval towns of Plymouth and Devonport. 
This fact the directors kept steadily in view, embracing every 
opportunity to obtain piecemeal the territory they had pre- 
viously endeavoured to carry by a coup de main. Thus, when, 
in 1862, a company was formed to carry a line from Yeoford, 


on the North Devon, to Okehampton, the South Western 
entered into an agreement to work and stock the branch. It 
was opened to North Tawton in 1865, and throughout to Oke- 
hampton two years later. An extension from the latter town 
to Lidford was, in 1865, projected by the Devon and Cornwall 
Company, whose engineer, in conjunction with the engineer of 
the Central Cornwall Company, had mapped out a series of 
lines to accommodate the entire country from North Devon to 
the Land's End. Parliament favoured these extensive schemes, 
and in addition to a Lidford and Okehampton branch, with 
running powers to Plymouth, granted lines to Hatherleigh, 
Torrington, and Bude. A branch to Bodmin was also carried, 
whilst the Central Cornwall promoters obtained power to 
connect Bodmin and Truro, with access over existing lines to 
Falmouth and the Land's end. In connection with these 
schemes the South Western obtained an Act to extend their 
North Devon line to Torrington. Fortified by previous 
successes the Devon and Cornwall Company appeared before 
Parliament in the following session demanding additional 
powers, including compulsory use of the South Western line 
from Okehampton to Exeter. Finding that the Legislature 
were disposed to grant such a measure, the Company opened 
negotiations, and offered to work the authorised lines, comprising 
in all fifty miles of railway. Subsequently the Great Western, 
Bristol and Exeter, South Devon and Cornwall Companies 
were drawn into the conference, and a remarkable contract, 
called the Quadruple Treaty, was drawn up. Time did not 
admit of the completion of arrangements, but the Devon and 
Cornwall, and Central Cornwall Companies withdrew their 
Bill in confidence that negotiations would be continued. The 
session of 1867 saw a Bill introduced at the instance of the 
South Western and associated broad gauge companies to 
give effect to the Treaty, by which the broad gauge lines, 
south and west of Exeter, were to be thrown open to the 
South Western, while the lines of the latter Company, 
including those of the Devon and Cornwall, and Central Corn- 


wall, were to be open to the broad gauge. It was understood 
that any of the companies concerned might call for the with- 
drawal of the Bill, if it should appear to them expedient to do 
so. As might have been anticipated, where so many diverse 
interests were represented, a hitch soon occurred, and the 
Bristol and Exeter having made a demand upon the South 
Western, which was not granted, the whole thing fell through. 
Negotiations were, however, continued till 1872, when the 
Quadruple Bill was re-deposited, collapsing as quickly as 

Upon the first failure of the Quadruple Treaty, the directors 
asked to be relieved from their liability with regard to a Tor- 
rington branch ; the lines in connection therewith having been 
abandoned. This request Parliament refused, and the line 
was opened on July 18th, 1872. 



Changes in the Directorate and Staff. — Death of Mr. Joseph Be&ttie. 
Serious disasters. — Introduction of the Eleotrio Block System, and 
other improvements. 

Captain Mangles resigned in 1872, and, like his pre- 
decessor, he did not live long after giving up the reins of 
power. He died in 1878. being succeeded by Mr. Castleman ; 
Mr. M. H. Marsh filling the vacancy on the Board. During 
the gallant Captain's thirteen years rule, many changes took 
place on the Board. Mr. W. S. Portal, who claimed a seat 
from 1862, resigned on account of ill health in 1865. 
Viscount Bury took his place. In 1868 Mr. H. C. Lacy died, 
and was succeeded by Col. Brent, who only retained the 
position three years, when Mr. Portal returned to his old 
love. The same year saw Col. Brent give place to Lieut. Col. 
the Hon. W. H. Campbell. 

Among the chief officers changes took place in each 
department. Mr. Clarke succeeded Mr. Crombie, as secretary 
in 1862, the latter vacating the position for that of law clerk. 

In 1867 the traffic department sustained a severe loss, by 
the death of Mr. Godson, superintendent of the line. One of 
the old school, with a keen appreciation of hard work, and a 
blunt John Bull manner, he organized and managed the body 
of men placed under his control with great ability and success . 
He earned the character of a strict disciplinarian, yet no one 
knew better how to recognize and reward merit in any of his 
subordinates. He was burried in the railway portion of the 
Necropolis Cemetery at Woking, whither his remains were 
followed by four hundred of his brother officers and servants. 
With the exception of the superintendence of Nine Elms 


good station, which fell to the lot of Mr. R. H. Ming, Mr. 
Williams, till then superintendent of passenger traffic, 
succeeded to Mr. Godson's duties. At the same time two 
assistant superintendents were appointed, Mr. E. W. Verrinder, 
formerly superintendent of Waterloo station, for the London 
district, and Mr. John Tyler of Exeter, taking all lines west of 

In 1865 Mr. J. T. Haddow became goods manager in 
place of Mr. Hibbert. 

Two changes occurred in the engineer's department ; the 
first caused by the death of Mr. Errington, took place in 1868, 
when Mr. Galbraith became consulting, and Mr. Strapp 
resident, engineer. In 1870 the latter was succeeded by 
Mr. W. Jacomb. 

The Company suffered an irreparable loss in 1871 by the 
death of Mr. Joseph Beattie, superintendent of the locomotive 
department. Mr. Beattie was brought up under his father as 
a contractor and builder, but had passed the greater part of his 
life with the South Western, having been introduced to them 
by Mr. Locke, who knew him on the Grand Junction Eailway. 
He was a genius of the first order, one of the most clever men 
the South Western service has produced. His inventive talent 
gradually forced him forward into the ranks of the leaders of 
mechanical science, and his name will be long remembered in 
connection with many practical improvements in the details of 
the locomotive engine. The esteem in which he was held in 
the engineering world may be gathered from the fact that in 
the year 1860, at a banquet given in his honour by gentlemen 
engaged in engineering pursuits, a testimonial consisting of a 
silver dinner service and 500 guineas were presented to him, 
"as a record of their sincere estimation of Mr. Beattie 1 s 
inventive and self-reliant mechanical skill, generous friendship 
and honourable conduct during his successful career." Mr. 
Beattie was 67 years of age at the time of his death. His son 
Mr. W. G. Beattie succeeded him as locomotive and carriage 


Mr. W. H. Preece, telegraph engineer, left the Company's 
service in 1864, and was succeeded by Mr. Langdon, who 
followed his predecessor's example in 1870 and joined the 
post office telegraph department. Mr. C. Goldstone then 
became telegraph engineer. 

Two serious accidents occurred during Captain Mangles' 
time, sadly tarnishing the South Western Company's long 
and justly held reputation for safe travelling and immunity 
from disaster. The first happened in 1861, when a Ports- 
mouth fast train ran off the line at Wimbledon. Doctor Baly, 
principal physician to Her Majesty the Qaeen, was killed and 
several other passengers injured. Three years later, on the 
occasion of Ascot races, afar more serious accident occurred in 
consequence of a special train running into the rear portion of 
another at Egham station. Several passengers were killed 
and many injured. This latter disaster, drew forth a letter 
from Her Majesty, who wrote to the directors through a 
secretary, expressing a hope that they would do all in their 
power for the protection of passengers, and adopt the same 
precautions as they did when she used their line. The 
directors promised that Her Majesty's wishes should be obeyed, 
and as an earnest of their sincerity, the block system of 


telegraphic signals was adopted shortly after, several 
thousands of pounds being spent upon it each succeeding year, 
until the whole line became subject to the influence of the 
precise and reliable interchange of signals thereby afforded. 
Telegraphic communication had been in operation between the 
principal signal boxes for some time previously, but the 
instruments in use were those of the ordinary speaking 

Another casuality, in the shape of the shipwreck of the 
Company's steamer " Normandy," befell the South Western in 
1871. This vessel was lost through coming into collision 
in the Channel with the steamship " Mary." Captain Harvey 
of the " Normandy " and many of his officers and crew were 
drowned in endeavouring to save the lives of the passengers. 


In addition to the complete revolution in traffic manipu- 
lation caused by a use of the electric block system, many other 
improvements, having for their object the comfort and safety of 
passengers, were brought into use throughout the various 
departments. In nothing was progress more noticeable than 
in the style and general appointment of the various classes of 
carriages. Very little attention appears to have been paid to 
comfort in such a quarter until the year 1859, when second 
class carriages were first provided with leather cushions and 
backs. From that date much was done, and when Captain 
Mangles retired, the superior classes were so appointed as to 
leave but little to be desired. 

In 1868, consequent upon the Muller murder scare, a 
Bill was passed compelling railway companies to provide com- 
munication between passengers and guards. The South 
Western first tried a rope apparatus running along the outside 
of the train : subsequently electric bells were fitted up, but 
they were not successful, and a return to the rope speedily 
followed. The Company also placed small windows between 
each compartment of their second class carriages. These the 
British public, enamoured of privacy, soon condemned, and 
carriages so fitted became most unpopular. Such windows are 
known as " Muller lights " to this day. 

Among the important innovations of this period were a 
Railway Clearing House, and an efficient system of audit, the 
details of which had hitherto been very unsatisfactory. Mr. 
Charles Harvey was appointed to take charge of the audit 
office in 1857. 


The Hon. Ralph H. Dutton succeeds Mr. Castleman — South Western 
Policy — Extensions in London and the Provinces. 

Mr. Castleman's occupation of the chief seat on the board 
was of very short duration ; he resigned in 1875, and died in 
the following year. During his time two independent schemes, 
destined to have an important influence upon the Southampton 
district, first saw the light. One project, called the Didcot, 
Newbury and Southampton Junction Railway, started from 
Didcot, running through Newbury to Micheldever, and con- 
necting there with the South Western. By the other — the 
Swindon, Marlboro', and Andover — it was proposed to open up 
a direct route from Southampton to Swindon, and that district, 
by way of Romsey and Andover. The South Western opposed 
the former, and the Great Western the latter; but both 
obtained Parliamentary sanction in 1875. 

Again the Company were unfortunate with their steam- 
ships, the " Waverley " being wrecked upon the Platte Bone 
rock, near Guernsey, in 1873 ; and two years later the S.S. 
" Havre " became a total wreck at the same spot. No 
passengers were lost. 

In 1874 the doubling of the Direct Portsmouth line was 
commenced, and in the same year the South Western became 
possessors of all the southern parts of the Devon and Cornwall 
Company's undertaking, including the Lidford extension, with 
running powers over the Great Western, from the latter place 
to Plymouth. Independent Companies had obtained powers 
to construct branches to Sidmouth and Lyme Regis, which the 
Company arranged to work. They were, however, unable to 
raise sufficient capital, and applied for a modificatio n of their 


agreement with the Company, stating that the terms were not 
sufficiently favourable. The South Western met them in a 
liberal spirit, and the Sidmouth branch was opened on July 
6th, 1874. The proposed Lyme Regis branch was abandoned. 
Ilfracombe was first served by a direct railway on July 20th, 
of the year last named, and the extension to Lidford was 
opened on the 12th of the following October. 

The year 1875 saw the North Western commence a 
service of trains between Willesden Junction and Waterloo, 
and a great improvement was at the same period brought about 
at Waterloo station by the opening of a new entrance from the 
York Road. 

The Hon. Ralph H. Dutton succeeded Mr. Castleman in 
the chair, with Mr. W. S. Portal as deputy, the vacancy on 
the board being filled by Mr. Arthur E. Guest. There were 
two other changes immediately previous, caused by the retire- 
ment of Mr. Marsh, and the death of Mr. Hitchins. Mr. 
W. B. Beach took the place of Mr. Marsh, and Mr. J. H. 
Mangles, son of the former chairman, succeeded Mr. Hitchins. 

The policy favoured by the present board has not hither- 
to differed materially from those presided over by Captain 
Mangles and Mr. Castleman. Extensions by the Company 
directly have been eschewed, but every advantage has been 
taken of the efforts and invitations of landowners and in- 
habitants of towns asking for accommodation. When a great 
railway company projects a line into a new district, the 
whole population look upon it as a favourable and never to be 
missed opportunity to obtain compensation for residential or 
other injury, real or imaginary. But when the leading 
inhabitants of a town or county bring forward a scheme, each 
and everyone becomes anxious to assist ; the landowners sell 
their land for a reasonable consideration, and compensation 
for injury to residential property assumes minor proportions. 
Moreover the witnesses before a Parliamentary Committee 
are enthusiastic, and a greater probability exists of getting 
the Bill safely passed. When this latter consummation has 


been attained, the Company conies forward with a liberal offer 
to work and stock the line, and eventually it becomes amalga- 
mated with the rest of the system. Such a policy has 
another advantage ; for when a town, by its own efforts, 
obtains a line of railway, that line is looked upon as belonging 
to it, and no pains are spared to increase its importance and 
swell its traffic. This no doubt accounts in a measure for the 
great and undeniable popularity of the South Western in the 
Western Counties, where the lines have either been con- 
structed by the residents, or undertaken by the Company at 
their special and earnest request. 

Operations in the London district since the Hon. Ralph 
Dutton's accession to the chair have for the most part con- 
sisted of projects for improving the access to Waterloo 
station, and contests or arrangements with the District Com- 
pany, who, tired of burrowing like a mole in the bowels of the 
great City, cast their eyes enviously upon the fair and rich 
traffic district of the South Western suburban system. The 
first battle occurred in 1872, when the District obtained 
powers to make a branch to Barnes. Two years later an 
extension to Hammersmith was granted them. As a result of 
negotiation the South Western agreed to give them running 
powers from Hammersmith to Richmond, so long as that route 
should be the only one in use by the District for connecting 
their system with Kew, Richmond and Barnes. On this con- 
dition the District abandoned their line to Barnes. They first 
used their powers to Richmond on June 1st, 1877, and on 
October 1st following, the Metropolitan Company were granted 
a similar concession. The District subsequently obtained a 
branch to Ealing, using a short portion of the South Western 
line from Shaftesbury Road station to Turnham Green. This 
branch they opened on July 1st, 1879. A ^District extension 
to Hounslow was next passed by Parliament, and opened in 
the present year. In 1881 an onslaught was made upon a new 
quarter of the South Western. A company, closely in league 
with the District, was formed for the purpose of carrying a line 


from Guildford through Kingston to Fulham. A line across 
a part of the same country had been unsuccessfully promoted 
in 1863. As the South Western opposition, assisted by the 
Wimbledon Common Commissioners, was unable to stay the 
progress of the Bill, an arrangement was made with the 
promoters, by which that portion of the proposed line from 
Surbiton to Guildford was to be constructed by the South 
Western, who were also to be joint owners with the District 
of the remaining line from Kingston to Fulham. Kunning 
powers over the District from Fulham to South Kensington 
were also granted the Company, and arrangements made for 
through bookings between the principal South Western 
stations and all stations on the District. In the next session 
powers were granted the Company to construct a branch from 
the new Guildford line to Leatherhead, and a short line from 
South Kensington to Pelhara Square, where it is proposed to 
erect a large West End terminus. At the same time the 
District sought to extend their Hounslow line to Twickenham, 
with running powers to Norbiton, where a connection was 
intended with the joint Kingston and London line. This, 
Parliament rejected. Meanwhile the Company have been busy 
making their line from Guildford to Surbiton, but a hitch has 
occurred with regard to the raising of capital for the Kingston 
and London railway, and during the present session a Bill has 
been passed authorising the Company to contribute more than 
half toward that undertaking. Thus a most formidable 
looking rival scheme has been converted into a South Western 
line. A new and beautiful residential district will be opened 
up ; a West End terminus will be acquired ; and the District 
line will, by means of through bookings, become an important 
feeder of the South Western. The future will decide what 
advantages a West End terminus and a close connection with 
the District will give, but it cannot be doubted that the flow 
of traffic through such a channel will be very great. 

While the directors were making arrangements for a West 
End terminus, independent parties were endeavouring to force 


their hand toward an extension from Waterloo citywards. 
Last year three Schemes were submitted to Parliament. Of 
these, two proposed to bridge the Thames ard erect commo- 
dious termini within the City. The other, called the Charing 
Cross and Waterloo Electric Kailway, followed the course of 
the abortive Whitehall and Waterloo Pneumatic. Eailway of 
1865. As its name indicates, it is to be worked by electricity. 
Clauses were inserted in the Bill giving the South Western 
power to contribute toward the cost of the line and to work it. 
Of the three schemes two were withdrawn, the electric line 
only obtaining Parliamentary sanction. Desirable and prac- 
ticable as an extension of the South Western to the City may 
be, it is doubtful, considering the enormous cost, whether such 
a line would pay investors within a reasonable period. 

To minimise the drawbacks of possessing practically only 
one terminus in London, and that far removed from the City, 
the Company have used, and are using, every exertion to ward 
off congestion of traffic. A new and commodious station to 
accommodate the ever increasing race and suburban traffic was 
opened at Waterloo in 1879. This station has the longest 
platforms in London, and is admirably constituted for despatch- 
ing large concourses of people. At Nine Elms, where formerly 
all passenger trains ran through the goods yard, a substantial 
viaduct has been erected. Lines for goods traffic only have 
also been laid down between Clapham Junction and Nine Elms. 
Mr. Chaplin's "four distinct lines of rails/ ' which he, farseeing 
as he was, considered sufficient for " the adventurous schemes 
of the age in future/ ' still carry all traffic between Nine Elms 
and Waterloo. Local lines are, however, being laid down from 
Clapham Junction to Esher on the main line, and from 
Clapham Junction to Barnes on the Windsor line. 

In one direction the Company have adopted the unusual 
policy of a retreat. Their share in the Wimbledon and 
Croydon line, owned jointly with the Brighton company, was 
sold to the latter in 1879. The branch was of little or no 
service to the South Western. 


Several attacks have of late been made upon the 
Company's suburban system. A scheme called the Wimbledon, 
Merton, and West Metropolitan Junction Bailway, was passed 
last year. It starts from Wimbledon and runs across to 
Putney, connecting there with the authorized Kingston and 
London line. A short branch was also projected last year 
from the Epsom branch to Sutton, but Parliament refused to 
pass the Bill. A scheme called the Esher, Hounslow and 
Southall Railway was likewise presented to Parliament, and 
this the South Western were fortunate enough to defeat. 

The Windsor, Ascot and Aldershot district has for some 
years been jealously regarded by the Great Western, who have 
made several attempts to tap the race and military traffic it 
affords. In 1873, the South Western in order to keep out 
other parties, obtained sanction to construct a line from 
Aldershot to Ascot. This line was opened to Frimley in 1878, 
and to Aldershot on June 1st, 1879. Last year the Great 
Western induced the House of Commons to pass an extension 
of their system from Windsor to Ascot, with running powers 
to Aldershot. The Lords, however, threw out the measure. 
The Great Western, not content with their defeat, again 
tempted fate during the present year with a like result. 
A more ambitious scheme proposing a line from Portsmouth 
through Aldershot to Windsor, was also thrown out last year, 
and a line from Staines through Chertsey to Woking has been 
rejected by Parliament during the present session. 

The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Junction, and 
the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover schemes, passed in 
Mr. Castleman's time, have since then become more ambitious. 
The one backed by the Great Western as a means of obtaining 
access to Southampton, the other upheld by the South Western 
for the purpose of coijnteracting their opponents, have lately 
provoked a series of hard fought Parliamentary battles. Last 
year the Didcot company introduced a Bill to abandon their 
branch from Whitchurch to Micheldever, and asked in lieu 
thereof .powers to make a line through Winchester and into 


Southampton direct. The South Western projected a counter 
scheme, including a branch to connect Whitchurch with the 
Andover and Redbridge line at Fullerton, and new stations at 
Southampton, with other improvements there. In Southamp- 
ton great irritation had for some time existed at the departure 
of the P. and 0. Company, and the probable withdrawal of 
other steamships from the port. Well prepared ground, 
therefore, existed for the agitators* handiwork, and Southampton 
people were well coached in the part they had to play. The 
South Western were described as all that was bad, whilst 
their opponents were lauded to the skies. The depression 
in the shipping trade, due principally to a revolution in 
England's eastern and colonial commerce, was debited to the 
Company. Each political party in the town tried to make as 
much capital out of the affair as possible, and to show their 
undying zeal for the town's welfare heartily supported the new 
scheme. The principal traders and shippers of Southampton 
remained faithful to the Company, but the vast majority of the 
people were enthusiastic on behalf of the Didcot line. Thus, 
despite a strenuous opposition by the South Western, the 
Great Western were successful in obtaining all the powers for 
which they asked. The committee, before whom the Bill 
came, nevertheless declared, that the line was not granted be- 
cause of any shortcomings of the South Western. The Com- 
pany were granted running powers over the Didcot line from 
Winchester to Whitchurch, and their short connecting branch 
from the latter place to Fullerton was also passed. 

In the meantime, the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover 
Company, in conjunction with the Company, obtained powers 
to construct a line from Redbridge along the shore of the 
Southampton Water to a point opposite. Cowes, in the Isle of 
Wight. In the present session they have been granted further 
powers, including a large pier capable of accommodating ocean 
going steamers, but which they propose to construct principally 
in connection with a steamboat service to and from the Isle of 
Wight. Over this branch, and also over the whole of the 


Swindon Company's lines the South Western have running 
powers. From Swindon, another company in league with the 
Swindon and Andover line, are making an extension to 
Cheltenham, connecting there with the Midland railway, and 
forming a direct route from Southampton to Birmingham and 
the northern counties. This line will also bring the South 
Wales coal fields under South Western influence. 

In the present session also the Great Western have, by 
means of an independent company, obtained a new route to 
Southampton ; a branch from Pewsey to Salisbury, with 
running powers over the South Western to Chandler's Ford, 
joining there the Didcot line, having received the Royal 

Thus a monopoly of Southampton traffic* which the South 
Western has enjoyed for upwards of forty years, has been 
broken up. Whether the exaggerated promises and high 
hopes of Great Western advocates in Southampton will be 
fulfilled remains for the future to decide. Certain it is that 
that company can have no greater interest in the port than the 
South Western, neither can they exert their influence on its 
behalf to a greater degree than the Company have done. To 
the latter Southampton owes much of its past prosperity ; they 
used every influence to bring shipping to the port, and no 
effort was lost to retain it when there. The loss of a monopoly 
at Southampton has had one salutary effect upon the Company, 
having driven them into the new district of Swindon and 
Cheltenham, whither they would never have gone had not the 
Great Western obtained an entry into Southampton. The 
future will doubtless see extensions in that direction more 
fully developed, and the South Western, hand in hand with the 
Midland, competing with the Great Western for north of 
England and Welsh traffic. Considering the numerous 
attempts made by rival lines to effect an entry into the 
southern port, it is only surprising that a monopoly should 
have been retained so long. A glance at a railway map of the 
northern and midland counties exhibits a multiplication of 


competing lines running into each large town, and the advent 
of the Great Western at Southampton may be taken simply as 
a sign of the times. The day has gone by when a company 
could look upon a large and important town, and say " Here 
we have a great and valuable traffic, no other line shall share 
it with us." 

In conijection with the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight 
traffic, several important powers have during the past few years 
been obtained. In 1880, the Portsmouth and Byde steam- 
boats were transferred to the South Western and Brighton 
Companies. A large railway pier and a short line of railway 
to connect with the Island companies, have also been built by 
the joint companies at Byde. The railway was extended to 
Portsmouth Harbour in 1876, and a local company have 
obtained powers to make a branch to Southsea. It is to be 
worked by the joint companies. The Portsmouth Direct line 
was doubled by the South Western in 1879. A branch to give 
a direct and shorter route between Portsmouth and Netley and 
Southampton, has been passed during the present session. A 
clause in the South Western Bill likewise provided for an 
amalgamation of the whole of the Isle of Wight railways with 
the systems of the South Western and Brighton Companies, 
but this was opposed by Southampton people and eventually 

During the present year the ambitions of the Didcot 
Company led them to attack the South Western traffic to 
Bournemouth. They projected a line from the authorized 
Southampton railway, through the New Forest, to Bournemouth. 
Prior to this the Company had announced their intention to 
make a cross country line from Brockenhurst to Christchurch, 
and to thus materially reduce the present route. A connection 
between the East and West stations was also included in the 
scheme. An endeavour was made, and not unsuccessfully, to 
stir up the inhabitants of Bournemouth on behalf of the Didcot 
proposals, but, unfortunately for them, a very decided opinion 
has of late been taken by the general public against railway 


companies cutting through, and disfiguring, the natural beauties 
of our commons and forests. The Didcot scheme proposing 
to destroy the quietude of many well-known sylvian retreats in 
the historical Hampshire forest, a determined opposition faced 
the promoters, and they withdrew their Bill after a first 
reading. The South Western scheme, on the other hand, 
proposed a line through nothing but heath and barren land. 
The latter, meeting with little or no opposition, was passed by 

One other little branch in the Bournemouth district 
remains to be mentioned, viz., a line obtained by a local 
company from Wareham to the small but popular watering 
place of Swanage. The South Western have agreed to work 
this line when completed. 

One of the principal extensions for which the present 
board will in the future be remembered, is an advance into 
the coal fields and agricultural districts of North Somerset. 
The Somerset and Dorset railway, formed by a fusion of the 
Somerset Central, incorporated in 1852, and the Dorset 
Central, incorporated in 1856, had been steadily going down 
hill, until in 1875 the South Western, finding that it was 
likely to pass into the Great Western Company's hands, 
induced the Midland to become joint lessees of the entire 
undertaking, the South Western retaining the greatest share. 
A portion of this railway, from Wimborne to Blandford, 
was for some years worked by the South Western. The 
line gives the Company access to Bath, and enables them 
to obtain a share of Bristol traffic. The friendly relations 
existing with the Midland Company have proved very 
beneficial, and promise to yield even greater and more 
satisfactory results. In the great city of Bristol the South 
Western are very popular, and a determined, though unhappily 
futile, attempt was made during the present year to give the 
Company a direct line to that town. The scheme, promoted 
solely by the leading inhabitants of Bristol, comprised a line 
from a point on the Company's western road near Andover, to 


Radstock, running thence over the North Somerset line to 
Bristol, and terminating at a central station in the city. The 
Great "Western of course opposed, and the Midland, as joint 
owners with the South Western of the Somerset and Dorset 
line, objected to the South Western running over the North 
Somerset railway. In deference to the Midland Company's 
opinion, the latter portion of the Bill was abandoned, and as a 
natural consequence the central station project was thrown 
overboard with it. The alternative was a line to Bath, 
connecting there with the Midland* Great demonstrations 
were made in Bristol and every influence was brought to bear 
on behalf of the scheme, but all to no purpose, and this, the 
third attempt to introduce the Sonth Western into Bristol, 
was rejected by the House of Commons. Notwithstanding 
their defeat, the promoters have instructed their engineers to 
map out the best possible scheme for presentation to Parlia- 
ment next year, when the Great Western will probably find, 
as the South Western found at Southampton, that a monopoly 
of the carrying trade to and from a great centre of industry is 
a thing of the past. 

In the far west, although the Land's End has not yet 
been reached, considerable advances have been made in 
that direction, and Plymouth, after many a hard fight, is now 
served by the South Western. The line to Plymouth from 
Lidford, owned by the Great Western, was opened to the 
South Western on May 17th, 1876. A large station had been 
erected by the Company at Devonport ; also an improved 
joint station at North Road, Plymouth. The day of opening 
was made the occasion of a great friendly demonstration 
toward the South Western. "Hail! All hail!! The Narrow 
Gauge Rail, ,, and " Success to the South Western Railway," 
were mottoes freely distributed among the general decorations. 
The Mayor, Town Council, and the Mercantile Association 
walked in procession from the Guildhall, with bauds of music 
playing, to the new Devonport Station, where they met the 
directors and general manager. Addresses of congratulation 


were read by the town clerk and the secretary of the Port of 
Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, to which the Hon. Ralph 
Dutton made a suitable reply. After this about 750 guests sat 
down to a banquet in the extensive goods shed. The directors 
were so well pleased, that two days later they sent a hundred 
guineas for the charities of the Three Towns, as a recognition 
of the hearty reception accorded them on the opening day. 
Although the Company had obtained an entry, after a long and 
costly struggle, into Plymouth, the conditions under which that 
entry was obtained were anything but satisfactory. Running 
powers over a rival company's line, and that a single line, is 
never a very amicable arrangement. This the Plymouth 
people soon discovered, and during the present year they 
presented a Bill to Parliament embodying a scheme to give 
the South Western independent access to the Three Towns • 
Despite the fact that it was proposed to construct a line 
side by side with the existing Great Western route, and 
that that company used every effort to defeat it, the Bill has 
been passed by both Houses. A new central station for 
Plymouth will be provided, and the scheme is in every way 
calculated to give the South Western a firm grip of the traffic. 
Two other branches have been opened in the West since 
Mr. Castleman's time ; that to Sidmouth on July 6th, 1874, 
and from Okehampton to Holsworthy, on January 30th, 1879. 
An extension of the latter to Bude has been passed by Parlia- 
ment. It is owned by an independent Company and worked by 
the South Western. Other extensions are contemplated in this 
quarter, a line from the Holsworthy branch to the Bodmin and 
Wadebridge railway, and from thence to Padstow and 
Launceston having been passed last year. The Bodmin and 
Wadebridge line was constructed as a mineral railway in the 
reign of William IV, and the shares were bought up by the 
South Western. It has never been amalgamated with the 
Company's system, a clause in their Bill this session seeking 
to effect that object, having been struck out on opposition 

by the Great Western. At the present time an open 


passenger carriage is run on this line three days in each week. 

Since the death of Mr. Castleman only three changes have 
taken place in the Directorate. Viscount Bury, having 
accepted office as Under Secretary of State for War, was, in 1878, 
succeeded by Mr. A. F. Govett, of Sandylands, Virginia Water. 
Major-General Marshall filled the vacancy caused by the death 
of Count Eyre, and Mr. Arthur Mills, of Bude, succeeded 
Sergeant Gaselee, who resigned on account of ill health. 

Early in the present year Mr. F. T. Bircham, the Com- 
pany's solicitor, retired, after nearly half a century's connection 
with the South Western. The directors, shareholders, and 
employes joined in presenting him with a handsome testi- 
monial. His firm still conducts the Company's law business, 
a partner in the firm being Mr. M. H. Hall, formerly law 
clerk to the Company, an office lately abolished . 

In the executive staff, changes were occasioned in 1880 
the retirement of Mr. Frederick Clarke, the secretary, and by 
Mr. Alfred Morgan, treasurer ; the former had been in the Great 
Western Company's service as superintendent of the Bristol 
division of that railway, which position he retained until 1850, 
when he entered the service of the South Wales Company as 
superintendent at Swansea. That post he held until the line 
became amalgamated with the Great Western in 1863, when 
he accepted the position of secretary to the South Western. 
Mr. Clarke died in December, 1880. Mr. F. J. Macaulay 
succeeded Mr. Clarke as secretary, Mr. H. Taman being 
shortly afterward appointed assistant secretary. Mr. Morgan, 
the treasurer, had been associated with the South Western from 
the date of its incorporation, acting first as assistant secretary, 
then as secretary and subsequently becoming treasurer. 
Mr. Charles Harvey, the head of the audit office, succeeded 
Mr. Morgan. Mr. Elwin, chief of the estate and rates depart- 
ment, died in 1876 ; he was succeeded by Mr. A. V. Haines. 

In 1874 Mr. Williams, superintendent of the line, died. 
He was a thorough railway man, enthusiastic and earnest, 
never weary in his endeavours to improve the working of the 


line. The arrangements necessitated by the introduction of 
the electric block system were made and perfected by him, 
and so successful was he in his department that the general 
manager, in a circular issued to the staff after his death, 
averred that throughout his career it had never been necessary 
to find fault with him. The assistant superintendent of the 
London division, Mr. E. W. Verrinder, succeeded Mr. Williams 
as superintendent of the line, having for his assistant Mr. W. 
Gardiner. Last year a further change in the positions of 
Mr. Verrinder and Mr. Tyler was made. The directors being of 
opinion that Mr. Scott, the general manager, had more than 
enough to occupy his attention with general superintendence 
and parliamentary matters, the latter necessitating his almost 
constant presence in the lobbies at Westminster during the 
session, appointed Mr. Verrinder to relieve him of some 
details in the management, under the title of traffic superin- 
tendent. Mr. J. Tyler, to the regret of his many friends in the 
west country who testified their regard in a very substantial 
manner, was brought from Exeter to London as superintendent 
of the line. Mr. White was appointed to succeed Mr. Tyler, 
and the latter secured as his assistant Mr. C. Bainton, of 
Andover. Mr. Gardiner remained as superintendent of the 
London district 

In the locomotive and carriage department, shortly after 
Mr. W. Adams was appointed to succeed Mr. W. G. Beattie 
as superintendent, Mr. W. Beattie, nephew of Mr. Joseph 
Beattie, became assistant to Mr. Adams, but to the sorrow of 
those, and they were many, to whom his genial good nature had 
endeared him, death claimed him early in the present year. 
Mr. J. Donnelly of the North London Bailway is his sucessor. 

A very old and valued officer of the Company has lately 
retired in the person of Mr. W. H. Stratton, store-keeper, 
who held the post from 1858. Mr. G. B. Barrell has taken 
his place as acting store-keeper. 

One sad accident marred the present administration in 1880, 
when a Hampton Court train ran into an engine at the Loco, 


Junction, Nine Elms. The deplorable occurrence was caused 
by an error in signalling. Five passengers, an engineman 
and a fireman were killed. A loss was also occasioned in the 
following year by the wreck of the steamship " Caledonia " on 
the Oyster Rock, off St. Helens. 


The Locomotive History of the South Western. — The Engineer's 

, For about fifteen years from its opening, the locomotive 
history of the L. & S.W.R. presents no special features. As 
on all the other lines in those early days, the great difficulty 
was to keep pace with the rapid increase of the traffic. For 
some time the Locomotive Department was under the charge 
of the engineer of the line, Mr. Locke, who just before 
joining the South-Western had constructed the Grand Junction 
Railway, from Birmingham and Wolverhampton to Manchester 
and Liverpool, via Stafford. The engines of that line were 
built at Crewe, and their distinctive features were brought out 
by Mr. Locke upon the South Western. The Crewe engines 
were among the best of their time and had the great merit of 
comparative simplicity. Strange as it may seem, the early 
engines were far more complicated than the powerful ones of 
to-day. The engines in question had outside cylinders 
12in. to 1 4in. in diameter, and 18in. stroke. The driving wheels 
were 5ft. and 5ft. 6in. in diameter, and when in steam the 
engines weighed 12 to 14 or 15 tons. Although the line was 
constructed with an unusually long incline, " single wheel " 
engines were at one time in considerable favour on the South 
Western. Many were built at various times, and in 1848 
Mr. J. V. Gooch, the Locomotive Superintendent, built one 
with 6ft. 6in. driving wheels, then considered a very large size, 
and afterwards one with 7ft. wheels. But in the long run the 
" four-coupled " engine has been found to be best adapted to 
the line, and for many years it has had exclusive preference. 
Upon Mr. Joseph Beattie succeeding Mr. Gooch as Locomotive 
Superintendent, a memorable era in the history of the South 
Western Locomotive Department commenced. The excessive 


cost of coke, especially to the southern lines, far removed from the 
coal fields, led Mr. Beattie to devise means for burning coal, to 
do which his great mechanical talent found an ample field for 
exercise. The prevention of smoke was at that time a sine 
qua non, and all sorts of contrivances had been tried, without 
much success, for burning coal without making smoke. After 
some experiments, a new class of passenger engines, fitted with 
a novel arrangement for burning coal, was brought out in 1854. 
In these engines the firebox was divided transversely by a 
" mid-feather " or water partition, for about half its height, the 
partition being continued in the form of an arch made of 
perforated fire bricks over to the back of the firebox. Each 
division of the firebox had its own door, grate, and damper, 
the doors being one over the other. The heaviest fire was 
kept up in the back division, nearest the tender. The product 
of combustion rose through the bricks and through perforations 
made also in the water partition, into the other division of the 
firebox, where, passing over a smaller fire maintained on the 
front grate, they entered the boiler. Instead of the ordinary 
brass tubes extending straight through the boiler, the boilers 
of these engines contained a large cylindrical chamber fitted 
with four rings of perforated fire bricks. A short space was 
left at the front end of the chamber, whence a large number of 
very small brass tubes led into the smoke box in the usual 
manner. This arrangement was found very successful, both 
in preventing smoke and in obtaining the full value of the coal 
burnt. The bricks attained an extraordinary degree of heat, 
which not only completely consumed the smoke but frequently 
enabled the engines to run considerable distances without fresh 
firing. A modified form of combustion chamber was introduced 
in a class of 7ft. coupled express engines, which came out in 
1859, and for several years all Mr. Beattie's engines were thus 
fitted. It was found ultimately, however, that the combustion 
chambers required very frequent repairs, and they were also 
expensive in first cost. Goal having by degrees become cheaper 
and cheaper, in consequence of increased output and great 


competition for its carriage, it no longer paid to use these 
boilers, and they were gradually removed. The peculiar 
arrangement of the firebox, however, was retained down to the 
last class of engines introduced by Mr. William Beattie in 
1877. In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Joseph Beattie 
patented a feed-water heating apparatus of considerable 
ingenuity. A somewhat odd-looking upright cylindrical vessel 
was fixed upon the smoke box just in front of the funnel. In 
this vessel the cold water thrown up by one of the pumps was 
met by a portion of the exhaust steam, and in condensing the 
steam became heated. The water then passed through 
a " surcharging chamber " in the smoke box, through 
which chamber pipes, heated by the exhaust steam, 
passed and re-passed. The water was then sent into the 
boiler by the other pump. For several reasons this plan 
was afterwards superseded by the equally efficient and 
much simpler one of conducting a portion of the exhaust steam 
directly to the tender by a pipe on each side of the engine. 

Mr. Beattie' s patent tire fastening has come into very 
extensive use, especially for engine and tender wheels, and has 
been one of the most successful inventions of the kind. A 
projecting flange is turned upon the outside of the rim of the 
wheel, and fits into a continuous groove in the tire, whilst 
additional security is given by bolts screwed through the rim 
into the tire, between each, or every alternate spoke. 

On the death of Mr. Beattie in 1871, he was succeeded 
by his son, Mr. William G. Beattie. His engines bear a great 
resemblance to those of his father, and with the exception of 
two or three classes are of much the same dimensions and 
power. In 1877, however, a new departure was taken. 
Twenty express engines of great power were ordered from 
Messrs. Sharp, Stewart, & Co., of Manchester. They are 
fitted with the firebox before described, minus only the fire 
brick portion of the partition ; they have also a powerful steam 
brake and a bogie. The coupled wheels are 6ft 6in. in 
diameter, the cylinders are 18Jin. in diameter, with 26in. of 


stroke. With these engines that admirable contrivance 
for obtaining great length and consequent steadiness, the 
bogie, first made its appearance on South Western express 
trains. Passing round curves is also greatly facilitated 
by its use, and since then every new class of passenger 
engine has been provided with a bogie, it not being so 
necessary for goods engines. On the resignation of Mr. 
William Beattie in 1878, Mr. W. Adams, from the 
Great Eastern Railway, and formerly of the Midland, 
became locomotive superintendent. His engines are a 
great advance upon previous South Western practice, 
and are fully able to cope with the heaviest traffic, 
very rarely requiring the assistance of a pilot engine. The 
old South Western tradition of outside cylinders for the 
passenger engines is still adhered to, but beyond this there is 
little resemblance to the Beattie types. Being enabled to do 
so by the introduction of steel rails, which will bear much 
greater weight without undue wear than iron ones, Mr. 
Adams has greatly increased the weight of his engines, 
thereby obtaining greater tractive force. Engines for every class 
of work have already been turned out and in a few years time the 
characteristic old South Western engines with their gleaming, 
bright copper domes, will have disappeared in favour of machines 
better adapted to the wants of the day. Most of the new passenger 
engines have been built by Messrs. Beyer, Peacock & Co., of 
Manchester, a firm who constructed many for the Company in 
former times. A number of very powerful goods engines have 
been made by Messrs. Neilson & Co., of Glasgow, whilst a 
splendid class of 7ft. coupled express engines is now being 
built by Messrs. Stephenson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, successors 
of the immortal " Father of Railways.' ' The new engines are 
all fitted with a " cab " or housing for the men, a benefit they 
greatly appreciate. The early drivers enjoyed no such luxury ; 
with scarcely an atom of protection from the weather, they 
had to rattle along through snow, rain and storm, and when 
one of the not very visible signals was found at " danger " it was 



necessary to frantically whistle for the wretched guard, perhaps 
frozen tight to the roof of the last coach, to put on his brake. 
If the engine slipped on ascending an incline, the fireman had to 
go out upon the framing, and with considerable risk to his life, 
scatter sand upon the rails by hand. Now it is all changed, 
under his comfortable " cab " the driver has handles which 
apply sand to the engine and tender, a powerful steam brake 
for the engine, whilst a touch of another handle brings the 
automatic vacuum brake instantly to bear throughout the 

In the carriage and waggon department equal progress 
has been made. The new coaches will bear comparison with 
those of any company in this country, and being fitted with one 
of the best forms of automatic vacuum brake, the safety of the 
trains is as far as possible insured. In this brake the vacuum 
is maintained in a cylinder under each vehicle by a steam jet 
on the engine. When required for use, air is admitted to the 
cylinders, thus destroying the vacuum and applying the brake. 
It follows that if a train breaks in two, thus severing the 
hose pipes, or if any other accident which destroys the vacuum 
takes place, the brake goes on and gives notice of something 
being wrong. Some most luxurious long double-bogie coaches 
have also been built, with first and second class compartments 
only. These are principally used for the Bournemouth and 
West of England services and are exceedingly comfortable 
travelling. A large number of coaches are lighted with gas 
on Pintsch's system. The Company's rolling stock at the 
present time comprises about 450 engines, some 2,500 vehicles 
of all sorts for passenger traffic, and nearly 7000 for goods, to 
say nothing of the engine and waggon stock devoted solely 
to the use of the engineer's department. 

The scenery throughout the South Western system is 
particularly noted for its variety and beauty, but although the 
line encounters some physical difficulties it presents few of 
those gigantic bridges and great efforts of design which delight 
the engineer more than they profit the shareholder ; the only 


work perhaps a tourist would go far oat of his way to see 
being the Meldon Viaduct near Okehampton, on the Plymouth 
line. Nevertheless the line has not been everywhere an easy 
one to construct. The earthworks on the original line were 
by many considered sufficiently heavy to make the prospect of 
a dividend very small indeed, gradually rising one in 250 on the 
average. From Bishopstoke to Litchfield Tunnel, about 17 
miles the line runs for the greater part of that distance through 
heavy chalk cuttings, with four or five short tunnels. Nearly 
the whole of the rest of the line from Litchfield Tunnel, 
which by the way is nearly 400 feet above the Waterloo and 
Southampton Stations, to London, is embankment, though 
without any works of special difficulty. The Honiton Tunnel 
is the longest on the South Western system, but. it is only 
1850 yards in length. 

The line at its first opening was laid with stone block 
sleepers, but a few years' experience was sufficient to cause 
them to be replaced by wooden ones. These were at first 
laid five feet apart, soon to be reduced to four feet, but this 
still proving to be too much, the sleepers have been for many 
years laid at the usual distance of three feet apart, measured 
from centre to centre. The cast iron sleeper of M. De Bergue 
was tried with some success about thirty years ago upon a 
short portion of line, but ultimately it was found unsuitable for 
heavy traffic. It consisted of a cast iron plate, 20in. long by 
14in. wide and Jin. thick. Steel rails are being gradually laid 
down all over the system, together with heavier chairs to meet 
the increased weight of the engines. After using nothing but 
hand signals till 1840, a peculiar system of fixed signals was 
brought into use, a few specimens of which may still be seen 
in out of the way places. A circular metal disc with a 
crescent shaped portion cut out of it, was affixed to a rod pivoted 
by the side of a short post. The disc had another motion, 
produced by an endless cord passing round its grooved edge. 
It could therefore be presented edgeways or otherwise to the 
line, being pivoted at its centre to the rod bearing it. The 


solid half of the disc turned towards either road, indicated that 
that line was blocked, the open side of course had the opposite 
signification. The solid part was put upwards when both 
lines were blocked, whilst the disc presented edgeways meant 
both lines clear. The system of train signalling, for many 
years the somewhat dangerous one of preserving only intervals 
of time between trains, which although supposed to represent 
intervals of space as well, did so only up to a certain point, 
has now given place to the invaluable block system. The 
South Western authorities were almost the first to recognize 
the merits of electric train signalling and in the South Kensington 
Museum there may be seen an ancient " Train recorder/' A 
large dial, like a clock face, with the names of the principal 
stations on it instead of figures, has a hand or pointer, which 
was directed by electricity from each station as the train left, 
to the name of the station on the dial. The apparatus being 
fixed at the terminus it could be seen at a glance where the 
train was. The whole of the line, single as well as double, is 
now worked on the block system ; and on many of the single 
lines the staff and ticket system is employed as an additional 
security. The interlocking of points and signals, whereby 
being mechanically connected together they cannot be at 
variance with each other, is also extensively used and forms a 
means of security not less valuable than the block system itself. 


George Stephenson's Prophecy. — Railway burdens and their effect upon 
the employes. — The Directors' equitable policy. — The South 
Western of to-day. 

" Now lads I venture to tell you that I think you will 
live to see the day when railways will supersede almost all 
other methods of conveyance in this country — when mail 
coaches will go by railway, and railways will become the great 
highways for the king and all his subjects. The time is coming 
when it will be cheaper for a working man to travel on a 
railway than to walk on foot. I know there are great and 
almost insurmountable difficulties to be encountered, but 
what I have said will come to pass as sure as you now hear 
me." So said George Stephenson in a brief but characteristic 
after dinner speech at Stockton fifty-six years ago. Great 
and almost insurmountable difficulties have indeed been 
overcome by the locomotive, sooner even than the " Father of 
Hallways*' anticipated. Prejudice, the greatest of all influ- 
ences, has been broken through, sordid interest fell before it, 
science opened her treasure house on its behalf and to-day 
the locomotive is king of the civilized world. The whole face 
of England's fair landscape has been changed since Stephenson's 
first attempt ; a network of steel and iron, links town and 
country, hill and dale, forest and lake ; along the iron way 
factories and workshops thrive and multiply, and cities stand 
where a barren land lay before. The locomotive shows its 
impress too upon the habits and health of the people; the 
merchant who in times gone by lived over his warehouse 
now takes train to a country villa ; the artisan has left the 
squalor of a town rookery for his cottage in the health-giving air 
of the suburbs, while meat and fruit and vegetables fresh 


from the shires and the ports, are daily poured in for the 
teeming thousands of our cities and towns. The iron horse is 
never weary, by day and by night the work goes on — enriching 
the poor, producing enjoyment for the rich and giving employ- 
ment to hundreds of thousands, till by the side of its 
civilizing influence the greatest efforts of statesmen and 
philanthropists appear puny and vain. 

Such are the features of the railway age, yet how few, 
comparatively speaking, appear to recognize the incalculable 
benefits of the English railway system. The average 
Englishman stays at home to grumble and goes abroad to 
brag. He walks down a crowded street and finds himself 
delayed at every step ; he travels by railway on a busy day 
but will excuse no delay, although the circumstances under 
which he progresses are very similar. Before the British 
juryman a Railway Company appears prejudiced, and many an 
unjust claim has been paid, many a case of fraud overlooked 
because such Companies are placed beyond the pale of the law 
meted out to ordinary tradesmen and citizens. Take cases 
of compensation for personal injury, where, it may be, through 
the momentary forgetfulness of an employe, a Company is 
mulcted in some hundreds or thousands of pounds. The 
most notable instance on record arose in 1877, when a doctor 
was injured near Nine Elms. The accident was caused by a 
signalman, who saw a fellow official being crushed to death 
before his eyes. Animated by the common impulses of 
humanity he rushed from his box, forgeting to place at danger, 
a signal he had lowered for the engine which had run over his 
comrade. The consequence was that a following train from 
Reading ran into the engine and one or two persons were 
injured. An action for compensation was brought against the 
Company and a jury awarded the doctor £7000. This 
amount the plaintiff considered insufficient and upon obtaining 
a new trial he received a verdict for £16,000. It is evident 
that such an award could not have been given against a 
tradesman or a private firm, because it would simply have 


meant complete ruination. A Railway Company being made 
up of a large number of shareholders appears to be the 
reason such verdicts are returned, and hundreds suffer in 
consequence. In 1870 a select Parliamentary Committee was 
appointed to inquire into the question of compensation for 
personal injury, and they came to the conclusion that a change 
in the law was necessary, recommending the establishment 
of a tribunal without juries and limiting the amount to be 
awarded to each class of passenger. But nothing was done, 
and in common with the passenger duty, which was imposed 
upon the first opening of railways as an equivalent to a tax 
then in force upon all conveyances by road, the burden remains. 
The present Government scheme for the reduction of the 
passenger duty, promises, as far as the South Western is 
concerned, to afford relief in one direction and impose as great 
a tax in another. Jurymen who are so lavish in their awards, and 
legislators who cheerfully acquiesce in the imposition of 
greater burdens, doubtless entertain a vague notion that 
economy will be forced upon the Companies by their actions, 
but they cannot surely comprehend how extensive and thorough 
the application of economic principles must perforce become. 
Heavy losses to a Railway Company may not only mean a 
reduced dividend and consequently a curtailment in many 
shareholders' establishments, a large proportion of whom are 
widows and minors ; the hard working servants, with whom, 
perhaps, jurymen and legislators commiserate for their 
dangerous and ill-requited labours, often feel the loss 
sooner than the shareholders. Coal and iron will not 
fall in price to order, and the only items of expenditure 
open to reduction are the salaries and wages of the staff 
There may not, indeed, be any actual reduction in wages, but 
a with-holding of those periodical increases which men work for, 
and look forward to, makes a period of economy felt none the less 
severely. Again, how is enterprise crippled, how are projects 
for development of trade retarded and travelling facilities 
curtailed under the depressing influence of heavy losses ! A 


prosperous and well managed railway lends life and vitality 
to the whole district through which it runs, but a line barely 
paying its way fails to give that help to industry and commerce 
a country deserves at its hands. Should England unhappily 
have to pass through one of those severe depressions which 
have during the present century darkened the commercial 
horizon, the outlook for the 800,000 railway employes of the 
United Kingdom would be very dark, so heavy is the load of 
taxation and other liabilities that has been heaped upon the 
great factors of national prosperity. 

The directors of a Railway Company have three distinct 
interests to study : first, the shareholders who deserve a fair 
return for their capital : secondly, the public who expect ample 
accommodation ; and thirdly, the employes who require a fair 
remuneration for their wearisome services. Any undue 
advantage accorded to either of these interests tells in a degree 
against one or both of the others. It has been, not un- 
frequently, observed that those Companies who give great 
advantages to the public and who are most popular with the 
travelling community are among the least liberal to their 
servants. The South Western directors have hitherto 
endeavoured to hold the balance fairly between these diverse 
interests. The Company is not on a footing with the northern 
lines in having an enormous and highly remunerative goods 
traffic, and consequently cannot afford to spend thousands 
lightly in experiments, but the Company have never been 
backward in adopting those appliances for public safety and 
comfort which have been of proved utility. The South 
Western was among the first to entertain and extend the 
electric block system ; the interlocking of points and signals 
they have upheld and utilized to the fullest extent ; the use of 
continuous vacuum brakes they have adopted and are fitting 
up as quickly as possible ; the electric light is in use at 
Waterloo station, and in the shunting yard at Nine Elms 
goods depot. Vast improvements also have lately been made 
in the appointments of the various classes of passenger 


carriages. Another step, for which the poor especially owe 
the Company a debt of gratitude, remains to be stated — the 
Company has encouraged to the full the issue of excursion 
tickets at low fares to all parts of its system ; and it is the 
only southern Company which conveys third class passengers 
at a penny per mile by all trains. 

With the employes the Company remains on good terms, 
having more than once clearly demonstrated that when the 
line prospers the servants are not forgotten. A conspicuous 
case occurred only last year, when after a very successful 
season, increases of salaries were given involving an addition 
of upwards of £4,000 per annum to the Company's expenditure. 
Great assistance is also given to the various societies and 
benevolent funds connected with the service, which include a 
Friendly Society, a Superannuation Fund, a Widows' and 
Orphans' Fund, a Savings Bank paying 4 per cent, interest, 
guaranteed by the Company, and a Pension Fund, the latter a 
scheme perfected by Mr. F. J. Macaulay, the secretary, to 
provide a competency for the Company's servants in their old 
age. This policy, added to the judicious direction of the 
general manager, who has never been known to refuse a fair 
hearing to anyone having a grievance, contributes much 
toward the existing good feeling. 

The South Western system now comprises about 800 
miles of line in use, which, added to the Somerset and Dorset 
railway, and those branches under construction, make a total 
of a thousand miles of line under the Company's control. 
The authorized capital of the Company exceeds £28,000,000, 
of which £27,929,000 have been created or sanctioned. 

The metropolitan terminus in the Waterloo road is the 
largest passenger station in London, and contains longer plat- 
forms than any other London terminus. Its principal signal 
box, called the "A Box," having not less than 173 levers, is 
said to be the largest in the world. The number of passengers 
despatched from this station exceeds three millions annually. 
This does not include season ticket holders, of whom 8,000 





use the station. After passing the large goods and locomotive 
departments at Nine Elms the traveller from Waterloo soon 
reaches Clapham Junction, in and out of which station upwards 
of 1,100 trains pass daily. From thence the valley of the 
Thames, with Windsor and Reading, may be quickly reached, 
or the passenger may journey to the hreezy hills of Surrey at 
Epsom and Leatherhead, while on the other hand the main 
line will take him to Portsmouth or the Isle of Wight, to 
Southampton, the New Forest, Bournemouth or Weymouth. 
By express trains the fair city of Exeter is arrived at in four 
hours ; from thence North Devon to Ilfracombe, and south to 
Plymouth and Devonport are within easy hail. 

The number of passengers carried annually by the 
Company exceeds 33 millions, and in the same period the 
tonnage of goods traffic ranges from three to four millions, 
whilst of parcels three millions are conveyed each year. 
Included in these figures are classes of traffic having by no 
means an unimportant Gearing upon the food supply of the 
metropolis. Thus during the past year 5,000,000 gallons of 
milk and 12,000 tons of fresh meat were conveyed to London. 
Enormous quantities of butter, eggs and vegetables are also 
landed at Southampton by South Western steamers, and 
despatched to the Great City, not less than 20,000 tons of 
new potatoes having been carried by this route within a period 
of three weeks early in the spring of the present year. The 
total annual revenue of the Company from all sources exceeds 

The South Western line of to-day thus wears a very 
different aspect from the picture drawn by Col. Henderson to a 
sceptical audience at Southampton half a century ago. The 
gallant Colonel's crude ideas of two wheezy engines making 
three trips daily, have become enlarged since then. The South 
Western has increased and prospered side by side with the 
country it has fertilized and enriched, and given fair play 
there is no reason to doubt but that it will throw its 
branches still further afield and continue to prosper to the 



benefit alike of its shareholders, the district it serves and the 
18,000 servants it employs. 


The following have been the Dividends declared upon the 
ordinary stock of the London and South Western Railway 


Half-year ending June. 

Half-year ending Dec